A journeyman and a future star.
Barcelona sure has a knack on puzzling rivals.
After announcing the arrival of veteran Kevin-Prince Boateng, Barcelona signed Ajax wonderkid Frenkie De Jong right under the noses of Paris Saint Germain.
Image by Reuters
Former Milan forward Boateng is already 31 years old but his vast experience from playing across Europe’s top leagues has him as a hidden gem in the eyes of Ernesto Valverde.
The Catalan club had been searching for a back-up number nine to cool off pressure on aging front-man Luis Suárez, who is a year senior of Boateng.
The requirements were obvious but it drastically reduced their options. A player with La Liga experience and able to start immediately but was willing to be played from the bench. The player has to come without costing the club too much in a swift deal. And ultimately a quick solution to a specific issue on the pitch.
Surprisingly, Boateng fits in every category.
A six-month loan deal with an upfront fee of £870,000, and the option to make it permanent for £7.1m in the summer.
Played in the Bundesliga, English Premier League, La Liga and Serie A across 17 seasons.
Played for Las Palmas in the 2016/2017 season and scored 10 goals in 29 appearances.
Ticks all the boxes, and in fact this deal is a reminiscent of Paulinho’s move from China last season where a midfield gap was self-evident.
Image by Barcelona/EPA
Frenkie De Jong was such a hot prospect that he turned down Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City to join the Catalonian club.
His deal works out an initial fee of €75m on a five-year contract, and will only join in the summer.
Johan Cruyff, Ronald Koeman, Patrick Kluivert, Frank de Boer were all Ajax players who eventually made to move to Barcelona and succeeded with them, winning a series of titles.
De Jong joined Ajax in 2015 and has quickly become a pivotal player in the team’s race for their 34th Eredivisie title.
His versatility has seen him feature in central defense for Ajax, but his preferred position is in midfield.
The arrival of De Jong means the future of Barcelona’s midfield is set to emulate the Iniesta/Xavi/Busquets era. 22-year-old Arthur from Gremio was signed in the summer of 2018, and he has quickly become a first-team regular. Carles Alena has also been promoted to the first-team squad this season from Barcelona B. 19-year-old Riqui Puig and 20-year-old Oriol Busquets are both getting featured regularly in the league.Leave a comment