Manchester City are reportedly set to rival Manchester United for Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong, according to the latest reports…
As per journalist Jonathan Shrager, the reigning Premier League champions are keen on a deal for the Dutchman, with the Etihad Stadium outfit’s ability to offer Champions League football next season likely to bolster their chances ahead of struggling neighbours United.
Writing on his Twitter feed, Shrager said of the 24-year-old’s situation: “Barça and Xavi are keen to keep De Jong, Frenkie wants to play in UCL, and MCFC are interested in him, with Pep an admirer of the player. So, whilst MUFC have been interested long before ETH arrival, at this moment, these factors seem to reduce the chances of FDJ coming to United”.
Recent reports had suggested that the Red Devils were eyeing a move for the 40-cap international and that the Blaugrana could be inclined to sell, although this latest update suggests that the advantage is with Pep Guardiola and co, should the Nou Camp outfit sanction a sale.
While City remain firmly in the mix for a potential Premier League and Champions League double this season, it would appear that the club are keen to strengthen their already stellar squad even further, with De Jong the latest high profile figure to have been linked with a switch to the Etihad.
Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland is the potential new arrival stealing all the headlines, while Sporting Lisbon’s Matheus Nunes has also cropped up on the radar, with Guardiola having dubbed him “one of the best in in the world” earlier this season.
Links to the latter would suggest that a new midfield addition is on the agenda for the league leaders this summer, particularly with veteran stalwart Fernandinho recently confirming his desire to leave at the end of the campaign once his existing deal expires.
Potential target De Jong may not be the same profile of player as the Brazilian, although he would likely add his own sprinkling of quality to the club’s midfield ranks, having previously been labelled “extraordinary” by his current boss Xavi.
With Rodri likely to remain in a holding role with the Cityzens for years to come, there is potentially a slot available as part of a midfield three alongside Kevin De Bruyne, particularly with uncertainty over the future of Bernardo Silva.
A De Jong-De Bruyne midfield partnership is a truly salivating prospect, with the younger of the two offering undoubted quality in possession to match the talent of City’s chief creator.
The former Ajax man is a master at dictating tempo and conjuring attacks from his midfield berth, ranking in the top 6% for progressive carries and the top 5% for progress passes received per 90 among those in his position in Europe’s top five leagues.
The latter statistic showcases his knack at probing into the final third, while his quality as something of a midfield metronome is also emphasised by his stellar 91% pass completion rate so far this term in La Liga.
The £63m-rated De Jong seemingly fits the mould of a Guardiola player with his ability to break the lines – as showcased by his 86% dribble success rate in the Spanish top flight this season – while his previous comparisons to Andres Iniesta, a player with whom the City boss enjoyed huge success during his time in charge at Barcelona, also illustrate how he could thrive for the Manchester outfit if this prospective move comes off.