It’s that time of the season again where the international break allows the media to perhaps give fans a false sense of hope with ludicrous transfer rumours. But if they are to be believed then Manchester City could well find themselves ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid to land Ajax and The Netherlands defender/midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
The Premier League champions are ready to pay £61 million for Frenkie de Jong who could be a likely replacement for the ageing Fernandinho. The 21-year-old has also garnered interest from City’s neighbours, Manchester United however, the prospect of playing under Pep Guardiola as opposed to Jose Mourinho surely is a no brainer for the youngster.
Born in Artkel, a small village in South Holland, Frenkie de Jong was a product of Willem II’s youth academy where he made his Eredivisie debut in 2015, just days short of his 18thbirthday. Just 75 minutes of professional football for Willem II was enough for Ajax’s hierarchy to be convinced that he has the worth ethic and mental attitude to play for Ajax Amsterdam.
Fifty-six games later, Frenkie de Jong is regarded as one of the biggest talents in European football, let alone Dutch football and it’s clear as to why the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona are hot on the heels of the 21-year-old.
Not only do his talents reminisce that of Andreas Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, but Frenkie de Jong can also play in central defence and although not his natural position, the Dutchman has shown he has what it takes – while his versatility is something that will please Pep Guardiola. To come to Manchester City to replace Fernandinho and play a certain style of football certainly isn’t going to be easy but with the eyes of the world watching, De Jong has an experienced head on young shoulders.
Speaking highly of Frenkie de Jong, Jos Bogers, Willem II’s under-15 coach thinks highly of the youngster.
“I had an interview for the Willem II website, and was asked about my favourite player. Obviously, most coaches name Cristiano Ronaldo or Leo Messi, but I said Frenkie De Jong,” said Bogers, via ESPN. “He was fantastic technically. That is a natural talent. Some guys need to work a lot to reach a certain level, but Frenkie didn’t have to train to show his quality.”
Of course, this is just a rumour and it may fail to materialise but the prospect of seeing Frenkie de Jong play in the Premier League under Pep Guardiola is something that football romantics will love. The duo are perfect for each other while it’s hard to imagine seeing the 21-year-old play under the likes of Jose Mourinho or Ernesto Valverde but as is the case with many rumours, nothing is concrete.
“I can neither confirm or deny it. You should ask [Ajax director of football] Marc Overmars, I send all the clubs who contact me to him,” said Frenkie de Jong’s agent, Ali Dursan, via Mundo Deportivo.
A potential game changer for Manchester City is the fact that according to The Mirror, Barcelona “have accepted” that they will miss out on one of their primary targets with City seemingly in pole position while Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars has already stated that it will be difficult for the Dutch club to retain their talent with Europe’s elite clubs chasing the signature of Frenkie de Jong.
“It will be difficult to retain these players who are in the newspapers every day because of the interest of other clubs,” said Overmars, via Marca. “Last year we managed to keep the group together and we only sold [Justin] Kluivert, but it won’t be possible to keep this group of talented players together for the coming years.”
It is a shame given that Ajax Amsterdam are still considered as one of Europe’s biggest clubs, but with the money in the Premier League in comparison to its competitors, especially the Eredivisie, then it will be difficult for Ajax to turn down such a substantial fee.
However, time will tell as to whether there is any truth behind it and while talks may not be in their advanced stages, their does seem to be concrete interest there.
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