“I’m happy to be able to play alongside Messi, I have always followed him & now my idol will be my partner.”
Frenkie de Jong has signed for Barcelona in a £65million deal, plus add-ons, from Ajax in a move which will go through in the summer.
It’s not uncommon to see such transfer fees but the amount for a player currently in the Eredivisie, and who only has 32 league starts to his name is a tad surprising to some.
For others who have seen his talent, though, the reasons why the Spanish giants have splashed the cash to beat Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain to his signature are clear.
Former coaches, Dutch legends, and pundits are all raving over the young talent, who excels at ball progression and is also diligent defensively.
- Ronald de Boer (Ex-Ajax and Barcelona winger)
“De Jong has Ajax DNA which is nearly the same as Barcelona DNA, he is intelligent, he always has good ideas, he never plays without thinking. Messi will fall in love with De Jong.
“For me he is more a Barca player than a PSG player, he will fit them perfectly.”
“He’s a different player and is not afraid of dribbling and waiting for the opportune moment to give the ball. He will have Busquets as a professor to learn from in the first year and after that Busi can hand the role over to De Jong. He can also play in the Xavi and Iniesta position but the No 6 is his best role.”
- Xavi (Barcelona legend)
“He’s really a player to keep an eye on. De Jong’s profile is exactly what Barcelona need. A player who is technically very strong, wants to work for the team, but above all has a lot of talent.”
- Arie Haan (Ex-Ajax and Netherlands midfielder)
“I really think he is a revelation. I really enjoyed him against PSV. Now, you might laugh, but he is a better version of Franz Beckenbauer. People must interpret that properly. What I really mean is that he also has speed and passes easily. That’s an enormous weapon.”
- Ronald Koeman (Netherlands head coach)
“His biggest quality? In a lot of situations he has the ability to postpone the decision when in possession, and then to give a pass from which everyone thinks: ‘Hell yeah, excellent thinking, that’s how simple it can be’. His view of the game is exceptional.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 5, 2019
- Ernesto Valverde (Barcelona head coach)
“He’s a really exciting signing for the club, both in terms of the present and the future. He’s a great player with a really, really big future in front of him. We are hoping for the best for him, because his success will be the club’s too. He’s a great signing, a really great acquisition.”
- Marc Overmars (Ajax director of football)
“Frenkie de Jong was a small, skinny lad with spindly legs five years ago. No one paid attention to him, but something struck me about when he receives the ball – that is still his biggest quality. I knew he was the one we had to get, and I didn’t give up.”
- Valentijn Driessen, (De Telegraaf chief football correspondent)
“He really does have some touches of Johan Cruyff. That acceleration, that hair, that forward thinking. He is not a second Cruyff, but he really does have the essence of Cruyff. He is our big hope in dark days.”
- Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool and Netherlands midfielder)
“He is always able to create space because he is a) always available and b) with his actions he creates a lot of situations: he forces opponents to choose, they have to come out of position, lose their marker, which can automatically make space or give us a free man.”
- Peter Bosz (Former Ajax head coach)
“When I analyse Frenkie de Jong, I see a number 6 in him. Like [Lasse] Schöne does it. He’s a modern midfielder, who can turn opponents so easily. He’ll start at 6 but move into the number 8 or 10 role. He’s got amazing qualities, anyone can see this.”
- Jan Boogers (Willem II youth team coach)
“Frenkie always played at number 10 in my team. Always the playmaker/false striker. I sometimes played with two of them. That is a hard thing to do, because they need to be very smart in their movement and positioning. But he can pull that off. We played at tournaments against Ajax and heaps of German youth teams. We’d totally hammer them. Frenkie looked the smallest of them all but he dazzled and bamboozled them constantly.”
credits; Anton Stanley of talksport.com