The Catalonians in their long lost struggle to end their away game curse in the Champions League for more than four years, have now landed the Dutch prodigy Frenkie de Jong after a month long Transfer News Saga. De Jong made great strides during his early days in Ajax, his exceptional show of versatility and utility with Ajax over a couple of seasons.
He might have been placed with the second team initially after his move from Willem II it was during this time that he developed much of the versatility that he exhibits in his playing style today. Including his appearances for the second team, the youngster played a total of 42 matches, featuring as a centre-mid, attacking-mid and defensive-mid.
While almost half of his matches were spent in his regular position as a defensive midfielder, De Jong certainly impressed in his five-match stint as an attacking midfielder. He managed to score two goals and bag three assists, thus indicating his attacking prowess from an early stage.
De Jong’s ability to play at multiple roles depending on the situation of the game made him make it to the Ajax first team in the 2017/18 season.
It was at this time, he got his taste of Champions League football. De Jong’s excellent ball reading in defensive roles with the ability to make a stealthy pass out of nowhere to change the tide of play made him Eric Ten Hag’s favourite choice for the role of a defensive midfielder with the ability to advance down the pitch when needed.
De Jong has been instrumental in Ajax’s fairytale Champions League journey in the 2019-20 season. He played every single minute of the Ajax’s Champions League Fixtures against Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus and put up an exceptional performance with the perfect blend of patient play, touch and go passing along with soaking in the pressure. The youngster has just about the perfect traits in versatility, one of the likes FC Barcelona desperately are hunting for. However, De Jong’s entry to the team would not be a cakewalk as ideally, he shares his position with Sergio Busquets, from whom he has to learn and eventually succeed which looks highly unlikely of his playing style extremely similar to the general tactics of the esteemed La Masia Football Academy.
De Jong will provide the perfect solution to supplement Busquets and bail out the side in some close contexts with his superior attacking mindset.
With Phillipe Coutinho and Arthur Melo in the side, it would not be easy for De Jong to get the mantle of the attacking role. Other than the attacking role, the youngster will also have his defensive duties to fulfil, primarily the reason Barca brought him at the first place. Perhaps, a final solution to the consecutive second-leg defensive drubbing, the Blaugranes are caught-up in the Champions League for at least four seasons now.