A Dutch journalist has claimed that Frenkie De Jong wanted to join Manchester City instead of Barcelona.
The Dutch midfielder is one of European football’s most wanted young players, having been linked to such clubs as Manchester City, Juventus and Paris Saint Germain this season.
Upon that interest, constant links with a move to the Camp Nou were been maintained and last week it was confirmed that a deal has been finalised with the youngster arriving in the summer.
However, despite De Jong’s public happiness of joining Barca, claims by a Dutch journalist – Marcel van der Kraan – say that he wanted to join Man City instead.
The 21-year-old has said previously that he held talks with City boss Pep Guardiola over a move, but preferred the option of moving to Spain.
“De Jong had made his mind up at an early stage,” he told Sky Sports News. “He wanted to go to one club which was Manchester City because they had a manager who he always believed in and who he thinks is one of the best in the world.
“[Netherlands head coach] Ronald Koeman recommended the player to Guardiola saying ‘If you want a great midfielder who can help your team to do the tiki-taka and build it up from the back this is your man’.
“De Jong had a meeting with Guardiola but at that stage it was a bit far away.
“Ajax always gave him permission in the winter time to speak to a few managers including PSG’s Thomas Tuchel.
“But if Man City had not been bothered by their own internal issues – and I’m looking at Financial Fair Play – he would’ve gone there.
“When that was not possible, PSG stepped straight in and wanted him and went up to a fee of €75m and the player agreed terms.
“However, Marc Overmars [Ajax director of football] – the wheeler dealer of Dutch football – knew there was bigger fish in the market and if there was a deal significantly bigger than they’d do that.
“Barcelona came in at the last moment, smashed it by another €15m and Frankie says ‘Okay, I’m off to Barcelona’.”
Barca have been fairly active in the January transfer window thus far, completing a move for Toulouse defender Jean-Clair Todibo, who will arrive in the summer and sealing the loan of Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Exits have also happened this month with Munir El Haddadi leaving for Sevilla and it is expected that Denis Suarez will join Premier League side Arsenal on loan before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.