New Barcelona signing Frenkie de Jong recently came up with some rather interesting quotes, suggesting he had seen himself playing for Arsenal before turning out for the Spanish champions.
Speaking to Voetbal International (via Sky Sports), he said: “In my mind I have had the following list for a long time: Ajax-Arsenal-Barcelona, call it the Marc Overmars route.”
De Jong’s admission is pretty strange, right? Firstly, that’s not how football works. You can’t just pick and choose where to go – this isn’t the start of a Football Manager save, mate. Who do you think you are?
To tease the Arsenal fans like that having got himself a move to Barcelona this summer is borderline insensitive. Who does that? Barcelona paid £67.5m for his services – on what planet did he ever think Arsenal would be able to trump that in this day and age?
His decision to bypass parts of his so-called plan is all the more grating because despite the misguided logic of his magical career path, de Jong would be awesome at Arsenal.
Having been an integral part of the Ajax side that bulldozed their way past Europe’s best last season (though somehow allowing Spurs to steal their limelight), de Jong has demonstrated a maturity beyond what his age may suggest, and experiencing those highs and lows at the top level of the game hands the 22-year-old an early learning curve that could set up an illustrious career.
Already a league and cup winner, his fast progress in becoming a starter for the best side in one of Europe’s top leagues arguably makes Barca’s fee for the kid an absolute steal, but how Arsenal could have done with a player with that profile – especially with a multi-faceted range of defensive versatility to boot that would surely have helped stem the flow of goals The Gunners concede.
But unfortunately for de Jong, he could be in need of a history lesson that may make him want to stick to his original plan – for should he indeed go down the Marc Overmars route, Barcelona may yet regret signing the midfielder, with the club going without a major honour during Overmars’ stay with the Catalan giants – leaving the Dutchman to do a bit more research before he makes big career decisions.
Whereas, if he was to truly emulate Overmars the way he may have intended, winning the double at Arsenal in his first season would surely go down a treat at The Emirates. So what do you say, Frenkie – fancy changing your mind?