Losing the undoubted talent of Frenkie de Jong became an inevitability for Ajax and their sporting director, Marc Overmars, some time ago. And when a deal was eventually done for the midfielder to join up with Spanish giants Barcelona for £75million — the 21-year-old switches to the Nou Camp on July 1 — it came as no surprise.
However, what may have come a s surprise to football fans everywhere is the news that Overmars, the former Arsenal winger who collected a clutch of honours with the Gunners, has orchestrated the move to replace De Jong for just £10.2million. The new midfielder joining the Sons of the Gods comes in the shape of Romanian Razvan Marin, who is expected to pen a five-year deal to move to the Amsterdam Arena from Standard Liege any time soon.
Ajax coach Erik ten Hag is said to be excited at the prospect of taking the 22-year-old ace — Romanian player of the year in 2018 — under his wing with one eye on next season. Marin, who has played 37 games in all competitions for Liege hitting five goals and providing six assists, played against Ajax in the Champions League this season. He obviously caught the eye!
Ruud Vormer of Belgian club Brugge, has compared Marin to De Jong and says the midfielder’s versatility is one of his strong assets, adding: “Frenkie has a great dribble. It’s one of his weapons. Marin runs much less with the ball. He’s one of the best in the Belgian league, he can play both six and eight.”
Meanwhile, De Jong has admitted that he was given advice by national team coach and former Barcelona ace Ronald Koeman before agreeing to the Nou Camp giants this summer.
He said: “Yes, I asked him a lot I knew that he had enjoyed success there. I wanted to know what the city was like, what the daily life was like and what the club was like. It’s reassuring to know these things before going.”
The connection with Barcelona could pay off for Ajax following the deal to sell De Jong after it was revealed that the Catalans are reportedly considering loaning starlets Riqui Puig, Juan Miranda and Oriol Busquets to the club for next season. it is said that all three players have been pushing for first-team action under the tutelage of Ernesto Valverde, but that now the time might be right for them to be farmed out to gain experience and game time.
Hard-working midfielder Puig and impressive left-back Miranda are said to be happy on joining the Dutch outfit but it is reported that Busquets has yet to be convinced the move would be one that he would welcome.
Following the international break, Ajax are back in action on Sunday when they host PSV Eindhoven. The visitors are top of the pile, five points ahead of their opponents, who sit in second place. Ajax will bid to maintain a challenge at the summit of the standings following their 1-0 defeat at AZ last time of asking.