Barcelona newcomer Frenkie de Jong has revealed that he always held aspirations of emulating Marc Overmars’ career path by going from Ajax to Arsenal.
The 22-year-old joined Barca this summer after completing a £65m move from Ajax in January, with the Dutchman earmarked in some quarters as the ideal heir to Xavi’s central midfield throne in Catalonia.
De Jong’s dream career path: Five things to know…
- De Jong rose to meteoric prominence after playing a star role in Ajax’s Champions League semi-final run last term.
- A number of elite clubs were chasing his signature but he ultimately put pen-to-paper at the Camp Nou.
- The Dutchman has now revealed he wanted to join Arsenal before moving to Barca.
- He has highlighted the career path of Overmars as one he aspired to achieve himself.
- But the 22-year-old has skipped past using the Gunners as a stepping stone and signed a five-year deal with Barca.
The Netherlands international was giving his thoughts on a move to the Blaugrana and while he suggested it was always his ultimate goal to follow in the footsteps of some many of his Dutch predecessors by joining the club, he dropped a huge transfer bombshell by admitting he would rather have joined Arsenal from Ajax before signing for Barca.
Speaking to Voetbal International, he said: “In my mind I have had the following list for a long time: Ajax-Arsenal-Barcelona, call it the Marc Overmars route.
“But then again, if you can go directly to Barcelona then you are right where you want to be. Faster than you ever dared to dream.”
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So where are Arsenal looking?
With De Jong’s recent comments suggesting Arsenal may have had a chance of luring him to north London had they coughed up circa £60-£70m, the Gunners faithful will no doubt be riled up and want to see some signings through the door.
One area the club have been looking to improve is central midfield, and Southampton’s Mario Lemina recently opened the door on a move to another Premier League club.
He stated: “The best for me would be to stay here [the Premier League], but I do not close the door to any club or country.
“Today, after four months of injury, I do not target anything in particular. I aspire to play for the biggest clubs, now we will see what I will be offered.
“I had chosen to leave Juventus for Southampton to have more playing time, I got it. I made a good impression in England, I had good returns at a certain time, so I hope clubs will not have a short memory!”