Frenkie de Jong had a breakout 2018-19 season with Ajax and helped lead them to a league title and the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. His impressive performances led to interest from FC Barcelona, Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain.
In January of 2019, those three clubs made their best pitch to de Jong to try and convince him to join their squad, and for a while there, it was thought that PSG was in the pole position to sign the Dutch midfielder. However, they lost out to Barcelona who announced the signing on January 23…and now we know why.
Frenkie De Jong will be a Barcelona player. Barcelona big dogs will travel to Amsterdam to close the deal tomorrow. https://t.co/XRCyLFuTSL
— Robbie Dunne (@robbiejdunne) January 22, 2019
During a recent Football Daily (via Le10Sport) podcast (12:26 mark), journalist Guillem Balague revealed what Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said to de Jong to convince him to come to the Camp Nou instead of the Parc des Princes.
“If you are looking for a coach, go with Pep Guardiola. But he will leave City. Who knows who the following coach will be. If you’re looking for money, go to PSG, you’ll be a billionaire. But if you want to enjoy your life for the next 12 to 14 years come to Barcelona.”
Much of what Bartomeu says is ridiculous but this especially is laughable when you consider that Barcelona has the highest wage bill in Europe (€529 million) compared to PSG, who have the third-highest (€337 million). It would seem that if a player wanted to get rich quick, it would make more sense to go to Barcelona.
All of that overspending on overrated players has driven Barcelona into financial despair that has only been made worse by the coronavirus. At the time of the de Jong signing, Barcelona had to hit up their overlords at Nike just to fund the deal. Today, the financial situation is so bad that any attempt to sign Neymar Jr. is laughable because they simply don’t have the funds or the players to pull off such a deal.
This season, de Jong has made 37 appearances for Barcelona and recorded two goals and four assists. I guess €75 million just doesn’t buy what it used to…
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