Frenkie de Jong Reveals Flattery Over Interest But Barcelona Could Prioritise Centre-Back Cover

Barcelona target Frenkie de Jong has admitted that he is flattered by the rumoured interest in him from Camp Nou, revealing to journalists while on international duty with the Netherlands that his grandfather is his chief source of what is being said in the media.

Barça have been heavily linked with Ajax talent De Jong for several months, with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Juventus also mentioned in the same breath as the 21-year-old at one time or another over the last few months.

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"I'm flattered that Barça is thinking about me," the player is quoted as saying by Mundo DeportivoHe added: "It is my grandfather [who tells me everything]."

Just last week, Barça general manager Pep Segura pointed to a possible deal by declaring: "In general, we will always need players like De Jong because it's the profile we want."

But while it seems clear that the Catalan club is keeping a firm eye on De Jong, it appears to be a centre-back that might be much more pressing in the January transfer window.

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According to AS, concerns over Samuel Umtiti's fitness after a recent knee injury and an unwillingness to rush the Frenchman back into action could push Barça to bring in defensive reinforcements when the mid-season market opens in a few weeks.

Given that both Yerry Mina and Marlon Santos left the club during the summer, Umtiti's recent injury has meant that Barça have been paper thin at centre-back, with Barcelona B youngster Chumi drafted into the first team squad as cover for Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet.

Thomas Vermaelen would usually serve as back-up but the 33-year-old has also been injured.

Yet while there also remains a lack of depth at full-back, where Vermaelen also remains the only real alternative to Jordi Alba on the left and versatile midfielder Sergi Roberto continues to be the regular right-back, Barça are not expected to dip into the market for wide cover.

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According to Mundo Deportivo, that could be because any approaches for midfielder De Jong and Ajax teammate and centre-back Matthijs de Ligt are expected to be very expensive. Promoting new full-backs from within could therefore be a better option.

It is said that 20-year-old Moussa Wague, signed from Belgian side Eupen in summer, has impressed on the right, while Segura and technical secretary Eric Abidal are apparently keen on promoting Juan Miranda to negate the need to buy a new left-back.

Source : 90min