Barcelona: De Jong is Barcelona’s new star
Barcelona made a big statement by landing Frenkie de Jong, adding a quality player to their squad both for the present and the future.
At 22 years old, the 75 million euros spent on him is likely to be an investment, having come through the ranks at Ajax.
De Jong has already won over the dressing room. In fact, he had from the first minute with his smiley and cheerful manner, cracking jokes whenever possible. On top of that, he’s started well with Spanish, which undoubtedly helps his integration.
All of those off-field successes will hopefully translate onto the pitch when the Catalans take on Barcelona, though he’ll need to fight off competition from Sergio Busquets, Carles Alena, Arthur Melo and Arturo Vidal for a place in the starting eleven.
Everyone trusts that he’ll succeed at the Camp Nou, with it just being considered to be a matter of time.
“The investment was big, but I think he’s a good signing for the future because of his age,” said Jordi Cruyff, who knows De Jong well.
“He has the characteristics of the club and they share the same demands of playing football.”
One of the main points in his favour is thanks to Ajax and their philosophy, which should make his settling in period considerably shorter than for many others.
“They’ve guaranteed their style,” Juan Antonio Pizzi said.
“Frenkie is a prototype player for them. Without useless comparisons, he’s similar to Xavi [Hernandez], [Andres] Iniesta and Busquets.
“He’ll do well and be very comfortable.”
But some doubts exist, most prominently about his position in the team or, rather, where exactly that’ll be.
“I’d play him in front of Busquets,” explains former Barcelona legend Carlos Rexach.
“At his age, being behind is too comfortable and he has a shot on him.
“In this Barcelona team, they need someone with a long-distance shot.”
But that versatility could play in his favour, too, allowing him to operate in a different role every week should Ernesto Valverde see it fit.
“I like De Jong a lot,” said Hristo Stoichkov.
“He’s versatile and has great dedication and a cool head.
“His singing will be a success. He’s a great player and will help with competition in midfield.”