Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman has claimed Pep Guardiola is ‘wild’ about Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
Guardiola is reported to have an interest in De Jong and his Ajax teammate Matthijs de Ligt, although the Catalan press maintain that City will have a fight on their hands with Barcelona and PSG both chasing the Dutch youngsters as well.
Why is Guardiola ‘wild’ about Frenkie de Jong? Five key things to know…
- Since making his senior Ajax debut in 2016/17, De Jong has impressed many with his passing and ball-carrying skills.
- His form has seen him get a call-up to the Dutch national team, earning four caps so far.
- The likes of Barca, PSG and Man City have a reported interest in him and teammate Matthijs de Ligt.
- Guardiola desperately needs a new deep-lying midfielder, with Man City struggling in the absence of Fernandinho.
- Koeman claims to have spoken to Guardiola, with the Spaniard apparently ‘wild’ about De Jong.
But Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman says he has spoken to his former Barcelona teammate about the pair, claiming Guardiola is ‘wild’ about Frenkie de Jong.
“I spoke to Pep Guardiola about [Frenkie] De Jong and [Matthijs] De Ligt a while ago,” Koeman told AD (via City Watch). “He is totally wild about the type of midfielder that Frenkie is, he wanted to know everything about him.”
Could De Jong be Fernandinho’s long-term successor?
Something that has become abundantly clear in recent weeks is Fernandinho’s importance to Manchester City, with the Brazilian often going unsung as the vital screen in Guardiola’s midfield.
Since 2016/17, Fernandinho has played 115 games for the Citizens, winning 71.3% of the time and conceding an average of just 0.9 goals per game.
Without the 33-year-old, however, City have conceded a goal per game on average and have lost 59.3% of the 27 games he has missed during that time.
That percentage includes Man City’s recent back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester City, with John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan trying to fill the void.
Frenkie de Jong is thought to be one of Guardiola’s prime targets as he prepares for life without Fernandinho.