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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Frenkie de Jong’s potential destinations – ranked –

“Many things come out that are not true, it is irritating me.”

The typically mellow Frenkie de Jong took on an air of defiance as he faced the media ahead of Barcelona’s Champions League round of 16 first leg draw with Napoli.

The Dutchman has never been too far away from transfer rumour mills since he switched Amsterdam for Catalonia in 2019 given the club’s dire financial situation, although recent links – which thrust De Jong’s reported salary into prominence – have gotten the midfielder’s back up.

With De Jong, who only recently became a father, content in Barcelona and sporting director Deco confirming the club’s intentions to keep the 26-year-old this summer, an exit does currently appear unlikely. However, Barca’s financial issues mean De Jong’s sale can’t definitively be ruled out.

The Dutch star would have plenty of suitors, and here are some potential candidates for his signature if he were to become available.

5. Tottenham

Could De Jong become a key part of Ange Postecoglou’s project? / Julian Finney/GettyImages

While Ange Postecoglou has been able to sweet talk many into signing for Tottenham since he arrived in north London last summer, it’d take a whole lot more than mere words to persuade De Jong to switch Barcelona for the Lilywhites.

Spurs may be on the rise, but they’d need Champions League football to even give themselves a chance of entertaining the Dutchman. De Jong would, of course, be an immense addition to Tottenham’s midfield and would likely operate as the #6 in Ange’s configuration.

The midfielder was reportedly close to joining Spurs long before his Barca switch and some Spanish outlets broke the news of a €60m bid arriving from the Premier League club for the 26-year-old. Those reports, however, have since been rubbished.

Likelihood rating: 2/10

4. Manchester United

Erik Ten Hag, Frenkie De Jong

De Jong worked with Erik ten Hag at Ajax / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

De Jong was once on the brink of a move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2022, with a £70m deal reportedly in place. The transfer fell through, however, and United turned to veteran Casemiro to mitigate their midfield woes at the end of the transfer window.

Erik ten Hag, who oversaw De Jong’s development at Ajax, was a major factor in the Dutchman’s interest two years ago, and while United have once again been linked with the 26-year-old, there are no guarantees Ten Hag will be at the club beyond the summer.

United also face an uphill battle to qualify for next season’s reformatted Champions League.

Still, the INEOS-led project could intrigue De Jong with the Red Devils poised to make more midfield moves.

Likelihood rating: 3/10

3. Bayern Munich

Alphonso Davies, Frenkie De Jong

Bayern Munich are more likely to target a different midfield profile this summer / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Like PSG, De Jong, whose profile is relatively hard to define, isn’t the midfielder Bayern Munich necessarily require.

Bayern still need someone in the mould of Joao Palhinha, who came close to joining the club last summer. An outright #6 is on the menu in Bavaria; a duel-winner, stabiliser and defensive phenom.

The all-around impressive De Jong boasts aspects of the midfielder Bayern crave and his athleticism means he should have little issues adjusting to the space-haven that is the Bundesliga.

Bayern reportedly shortlisted De Jong after missing out on Declan Rice last summer and could consider the 26-year-old at the end of what has the makings of a trophy-less 2023/24 season.

Even if he’s not the #6 Bayern desperately need, De Jong would be an upgrade over Leon Goretzka, Konrad Laimer and even Joshua Kimmich.

Likelihood rating: 4/10

2. Arsenal

Thomas Partey

Arsenal could move on from Thomas Partey in the summer / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

No matter how the 2023/24 campaign pans out for Arsenal, Mikel Arteta will be keen to oversee midfield changes this summer.

The perpetually unavailable Thomas Partey will surely be moved on, while 32-year-old Jorginho will only sign a short-term deal with the club if he does extend his stay.

The Gunners were linked with an array of youthful midfield stars ahead of the January window and Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi is reportedly on their summer wishlist. However, De Jong must be considered by the Gunners if their finances allow them to pursue a move.

He’d be absolutely ideal for Arteta given his subtle versatility and all-encompassing talent. Imagine De Jong and Declan Rice working in tandem. Filth.

Likelihood rating: 5/10

1. Paris Saint-Germain

Luis Enrique

Luis Enrique would love to get his hands on the Dutchman / Franco Arland/GettyImages

When reports were rife regarding Barca’s need to sell De Jong this summer to ease their financial burden, PSG were at the forefront of potential candidates.

The French giants are parting ways with Kylian Mbappe this summer and are poised to drift away from their Galacticos approach to recruitment which failed to bring about the desired rewards on the continental stage.

PSG have a manager in Luis Enrique who’s undoubtedly capable of overseeing a project, but there are holes in his squad excluding the monster void Mbappe will leave.

Enrique is blessed with a litany of talented midfielders including Vitinha, Warren Zaire-Emery and Fabian Ruiz, but Manuel Ugarte has so far been left wanting on the biggest stage. De Jong may not be the profile PSG require, but the Dutchman would be a considerable upgrade on the Uruguayan.

Likelihood rating: 6/10

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