In what is fast becoming a regular occurrence at the Etihad Stadium, especially during the Pep Guardiola era, Manchester City has missed out on another key transfer target. Frenkie De Jong has completed his move to Barcelona thereby leaving Paris Saint-Germain and Man City disappointed.
The 21-year-old has been the subject of transfer speculations for several months now with the three clubs battling for his signature. But the Spanish giants secured the midfielder from Ajax in a £65 million deal on Wednesday. He has signed a five-year contract that will see him move to the Camp Nou at the end of the season.
De Jong was a key target for City as a viable candidate to provide backup for and subsequently replace Fernandinho. But with Paris Saint-Germain also keen on the the player, the battle line was drawn to secure his services. Although the Netherlands international has revealed he spoke to both Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City in the process, he decided to join the Catalan side.
It’s easy to see why as he has previously confessed his love for Barcelona having supported the club from childhood. The player bared his mind on the situation in an interview. He told NOS:
“I am happy, proud and also somewhat relieved that it’s now all behind us.
”I spoke to PSG, yes. I rang Maxwell to tell him I was not joining them and my agent informed PSG. I also spoke with Guardiola about a move to Man City. Clubs all try to convince you when they want you. I am happy and proud that they did so much to get me."
”Barcelona have wanted me for a long time, they already tried to sign me last year. But they also have their financial situation, they can’t just spend loads of money.”
“Barcelona have always been a dream club for me,” De Jong continued. “The fact that they were so serious about getting me and that I have a good chance of getting playing time made the decision a bit easier.
”I already watched Barcelona as a kid and then when I was a bit more aware of the game you had the Guardiola era with all their successes. That turned me into an even bigger fan. I have always been a big fan of Messi, although I liked the entire team.”
City will need to move quickly to other targets to plug the gaping hole in the team's defensive midfield. It’s clear that Fernandinho will need a capable backup from the summer as he will then be 34.
With De Jong now gone, moving on to Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele will be a welcome development as the Frenchman will be a good fit at City. He has already demonstrated his ability with good outings for the Ligue 1 side. Guardiola had the opportunity to observe him up close when City met the French side in the Champions League group stage.
He was one of the stand out players for Bruno Génésio’s men as they collected four points out of a possible six from the Sky Blues which enabled them qualify for the next round of the competition.
His acquisition will signify a huge breakthrough for the Cityzens in the search for a capable defensive midfield cover moving forward.