Key figures from the Barcelona board are believed to have flown to Amsterdam, with the intention of wrestling Ajax starlet Frenkie de Jong from the grasp of his current suitors, Paris Saint-Germain.
The 21-year-old is one of the most coveted footballers in Europe, with his mature midfield displays capturing the attention of a host of elite clubs. While the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City were believed to be the initial frontrunners to sign the youngster, Paris Saint-Germain have recently emerged as the odds-on favourites to seal the deal.
However, with the January transfer window now in full swing, a crack team comprised of Barça‘s board members have flown to the Dutch capital in a bid to lure De Jong to the Camp Nou. According to Marca, Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and director of football Eric Abidal are hoping their presence in Amsterdam will show how serious they are about the deal.
General manager Pep Segura and assistant to the technical secretary Ramon Planes are also part of the negotiation team, and will be desperate to convince de Jong of the benefits of choosing La Liga over Ligue 1. The report also claims that the player will make a decision before his club’s Round of 16 Champions League clash against Real Madrid next month.
PSG’s offer may well be hard for both Ajax and de Jong to turn down, with the Parisian giants believed to be ready to pay in the region of €80m for the midfielder’s services, as well as offering a bumper contract. Barça will be unable to match this offer, so will need to hope that de Jong values playing at a higher level over mere wealth.
Meanwhile, Barcelona are believed to have given PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot a one-week deadline to agree a pre-contract with the club, as the Catalan side become increasingly impatient with the Frenchman. Rabiot’s contract expires in the summer, but he is yet to agree terms with the Blaugrana as he continues to assess his options.