Spanish news outlet, Mundo Deportivo has reported on Barcelona’s intentions to sign Ajax defender, Frenkie de Jong. The 21-year-old has been on Ernesto Valverde’s radar for quite some time now and the Catalan giants want to make the move permanent as soon as possible.
de Jong appeared in 26 games for the Lancers last season to score once and assist a further 9. He is versatile with his positioning and can appear from both midfield and defensive roles. The youngster has also been capped 14 times for the Netherlands youth sides with one international goal under his belt.
de Jong is a graduate of the Willem II youth academy but could not break into the senior squad. The Arkel-born man made his debut for ADO Den Haag before signing for Ajax in the summer of 2015. He appeared in 46 games for the club’s reserves side, Jong Ajax to win the 2016/17 Jupiler League’s Talent Of The Season award.
He now has 37 senior team games under his belt for de Godenzonen in which he has registered 2 goals and 9 assists. Standing at 5 feet 11 inches, de Jong has the athletic build to be really impactful on the defensive end of the pitch.
He has earned his keep at the Johan Cruyff Arena but might not have the same sort of involvement for the La Liga champions. Barcelona have stockpiled young talents over the years through the likes of Andre Gomes, Dennis Suarez, Yerry Mina, and now Arthur Melo from Gremio.
None of the above-mentioned players have really fared well at the Camp Nou with the lack of regular playing minutes and are only relied on as sporadic options. In the midfield, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Paulinho are the ones who are on the top of Valverde’s selection list.
The club itself is looking to make improvements to their already star-stacked starting lineup to place a better challenge on their bitter rivals, Real Madrid on the European stage. Barcelona registered the domestic double last season but very poorly got knocked out of the Champions League by AS Roma in the semi-final stage.
With both Busquets and Paulinho about to enter their 30s, Barcelona might be on the lookout for long time replacements. Maybe de Jong can serve as an understudy to the veteran duo before making his way into the senior squad.
It all depends on the 21-year-old’s wishes to either continue with his current side and play regular football or move onto the more lucrative prospects of a European giant.
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