The agent of Frenkie de Jong has disclosed how Barcelona staff sobbed with relief when his client snubbed interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs to join the Spanish giants.
De Jong, 22, completed a £65m move from Ajax in January before relocating to Catalonia in the summer, where he has gone on to make eight appearances so far.
De Jong to Barça: Five things to know…
- De Jong played a key role in Ajax’s progress to the Champions League semi-final last season.
- His form both in Europe and domestically prompted Barça to splurge £65m for his signature.
- Prior to signing for Barça, most of Europe’s top clubs were reportedly in the mix for his services.
- He has started all but one of Barça’s opening seven La Liga games so far, with the club struggling in the league early doors.
- De Jong’s agent has revealed how Barça staff wept when the midfielder penned terms with the club.
Prior to sealing his switch to the Camp Nou, the midfield maestro was highly sought-after across the continent, with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City tipped with a move for his signature.
However, it would be the Blaugrana who won the race for his services, and agent Hasan Cetinkaya has now explained how the Barça staff were so overjoyed when De Jong signed the dotted line that they couldn’t contain their emotions.
“It became a tug-of-war, where PSG, Manchester City and Juventus did almost everything to get Frenkie,” Cetinkaya told Aftonbladet.
Three Dutch players have won UEFA Champions League Midfielder of the Season:
🇳🇱 Clarence Seedorf (2006-07)
🇳🇱 Wesley Sneijder (2009-10)
🇳🇱 Frenkie de Jong (2018-19)
Elite company. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/WmPwB8qsPK
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 29, 2019
“But Barcelona had always been his first choice; his football was at stake, his DNA.
“Barcelona’s directors were so relieved [to have signed De Jong] that then general manager Pep Segura started crying as soon as the documents were written.
“They had lots of pressure on them to close the deal.
“There were hugs and champagne, and then we went to a restaurant in the mountains, which Barcelona had invited us to.
“We drank the best wine in Spain, ate a fantastic steak and everyone laughed and was happy.”
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‘I would have joined PSG or City’ – De Jong
It was no secret that both the Parisians and Pep Guardiola were keeping tabs on De Jong’s progress in Amsterdam, with both clubs in need of midfield reinforcements at the time of the youngster’s availability.
Other clubs were bandied about as possible destinations, including Juventus, but De Jong has since revealed were it not for Barça, he would have joined either Man City or PSG.
“If it had not been Barça, I find it hard to say it now, it would have been PSG or City,” De Jong told El Periodico .
“The most important thing was the way [Barcelona] played and how they saw me, what plans they had for me.
“When [Barcelona] told me they saw me playing here, that they thought about this and that, then they really convinced me.
“I talked with my family and my agent and we chose Barça. Then my agent came here to negotiate.”