The anticipation for this signing was something else! At least now Barca fans can sleep easy knowing that the club have secured the services of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax for the next five years.
Despite all of the noise surrounding the Dutchman’s next destination, the Blaugranes were always the favourites, it just needed the club to give a bit extra in negotiations.
Josep Maria Bartomeu did just that, and for a president who has been much maligned throughout his tenure, he deserves a huge pat on the back for helping get this one over the line.
It’s a signing of real intent from the club too.
Many were still scratching their heads at the capture of Kevin-Prince Boateng who, for what it’s worth, I think will be excellent in the role for which he’s been purchased.
Social media was awash with the typical backlash, but credit where it’s due.
De Jong is a player who will only be 22 by the time he arrives at the club and who is already a fixture for the Dutch national team... and one who will fit into the Barca midfield like hand-in-glove.
His hire will inevitably mean sales come the summer, but that’s a discussion for another day.
From a supporter’s perspective, and particularly at Barcelona, you want to see players thriving on the responsibility of getting and giving the ball. Arthur has done this so well since his arrival, and De Jong will provide more of the same.
Being schooled at Ajax for the last four years will hand the Dutchman an advantage over the Brazilian too, in that there’s a playing synergy between the Amsterdam-based club and Barca.
Frenkie de Jong, Ajax 18-19.— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) January 23, 2019
Barcelona purchased one hell of a player. That price is eyewatering for a player from the Eredivisie, but given how many super clubs wanted him, it's not a huge surprise. pic.twitter.com/KRaXoWiOmf
We’ve seen on countless occasions that De Jong loves to dribble from midfield positions. Sure, he’ll happily play the short, incisive balls when required, but his running from deep is exquisite and it’s rare to find him dispossessed when he’s in full flight.
For a team like Barca who like to build from the back, De Jong would be an ideal outlet for quick ball/transition.
His passing range belies his age too. Not wasteful in possession, he has that incredible knack that only the top players seem to possess, of picking the right pass at just the right time.
Delicious through balls, cross field passes par excellence, give and go’s... De Jong has it all in his enviable repertoire.
Not forgetting his versatility of course. He’s played at various stages of his career as a centre-back, central midfielder, defensive winger, attacking winger and as an auxiliary striker.
Though he’ll ostensibly be employed for what he can bring to the midfield, should injuries dictate, Barca know that De Jong can deputise elsewhere with no drop off in quality.
Finally, his in-game intelligence will hold him in good stead at the Camp Nou. Creation of space out of possession comes naturally to him thanks to wonderful off the ball movement and positioning.
Frenkie De Jong is a sensation. Has kept it simple yet effective throughout this game despite having the skillset to try doing it the difficult way. Has pulled off a chance creating through ball when the chance arises while has kept it moving other times effectively. Brilliant— Raghu (@RaghuFBH) November 16, 2018
Alongside the likes of Arthur, Alena, Puig etc., the addition of De Jong will give Barca incredible midfield control again, something they’ve missed in some games this season.
There really isn’t anything to dislike about this transfer at all, though if the club could start bringing through players like this again so that we don’t have to spend the big bucks, that would be the icing on the cake.