Manchester City are believed to have moved ahead Barcelona in the race to sign Ajax youngster Frenkie de Jong in a £61m swoop, as the club up their efforts to secure a successor for midfielder Fernandinho.
Along with his Ajax and Netherlands teammate Matthijs de Ligt, de Jong's future has been under intense speculation in recent months, with a host of elite clubs looking to secure his services. The 21-year-old opted to remain with the Eredivise giants despite interest last summer, but now appears to be edging closer to a big money move abroad.
According to the Mirror, City will succeed in fending off competition from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona to seal the deal, with manager Pep Guardiola's reputation for developing young players believed to have attracted de Jong to the club. While the Citizens have one of the best squads in the league, replacing Fernandinho remains a key priority.
City fans will no doubt be excited about the prospect of their club signing yet another talented youngster, and former Ajax boss Henk ten Cate has talked up the chances of both de Ligt and de Jong leaving this season.
He said (via Mundo Deportivo): "They are two very talented players, although talent alone does not decide anything."
"Both have talent and a good head, and that is very important. The logical thing is that they leave Ajax this season and I think it's the best decision for their careers. Here the League is too easy and they need a more competitive competition."
In other news, while Barça appear to have missed out on de Jong, they're now hot favourites to sign de Ligt in a £60m deal. Liverpool were believed to have been eager to link up the 19-year-old with his international teammate Virgil van Dijk at Anfield, but it is now rumoured that the Catalan giants have moved into pole position to complete the deal.
Source : 90min