Robin van Persie has backed Ajax starlet Frenkie De Jong’s decision to join Barcelona over Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
Barcelona announced a €75m deal for De Jong to join the club at the end of the season on a five-year contract.
What were De Jong’s options? Five key things to know…
- De Jong has emerged as one of the brightest young talents in Europe since breaking into the Ajax team in the 2016/17 season.
- Since then, some of the continent’s biggest clubs have linked with a move for the 21-year-old.
- Reports suggested Barcelona, Manchester City and PSG were the frontrunners for De Jong’s signature.
- But De Jong has turned down moves to England and France in favour of joining Barcelona.
- The midfielder has scored four goals in 16 Eredivisie appearances so far this season.
Van Persie left the Netherlands when he was 20, an even younger age than De Jong, and went on to make 383 appearances in England for Arsenal and Manchester United combined.
The Feyenoord striker, who will retire at the end of the season, believes De Jong has made the correct decision by signing for Barcelona.
“If I had the options of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Barcelona, I would make exactly that choice too. Barcelona is a beautiful club, it seems to me,” Van Persie said, according to NOS.
“He also plays in their own way, he is a smart player, technically gifted, he sees the game very well, and when he starts playing with boys like Messi and Busquets, he will get even better.”
Robben: De Jong fee is “crazy”
Another Dutchman who left Holland at a young age was Arjen Robben, who Chelsea signed from PSV when he was just 20.
He eventually quit Stamford Bridge for Real Madrid and subsequently joined Bayern Munich, where he has been since 2009 and will leave at the end of the current campaign.
Robben has suggested the fees for young players in today’s market are “crazy” but has backed De Jong to cope with the pressure his price tag will bring.
“These are just the crazy sums going around in football nowadays. Bayern Munich paid €36m for me at the time, I believe, that was huge at the time, and the kid (De Jong) can not do anything about that.
“But it seems to me the boy is smart enough and he is also well supervised, he must continue to play football and continue to develop.”