Frenkie de Jong: The Ajax midfielder linked with Man Utd, Man City and Barcelona

Frenkie de Jong
Frenkie de Jong is a target for Barcelona - and has been linked to most of Europe's top clubs

Every week the BBC Football Daily Euro Leagues podcast panel will select a promising youngster to focus on. This week our subject is...

Frenkie de Jong

He has been tipped for the top by Xavi and has been linked with a host of Europe's top clubs but his current side Ajax say he will not leave, "even for an insane amount of money".

Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong is regarded as one of the best young players in Europe.

The 21-year-old, who can also play in defence, started his career at Willem II before moving to Ajax, first joining the club's Under-21 team before making his first-team debut in September 2016.

The Dutchman has now played 50 times for Ajax across all competitions, including in this season's Champions League, and already has two caps for the Netherlands.

De Jong, who is 5ft 11in (1.80m), is regarded for his passing ability and dribbling ability.

Last season, he had the best passing accuracy and dribble success rate in the Eredivisie with 91.5% and 90.3% respectively.

In fact, since the start of last season De Jong has the best dribble success rate across the Dutch top flight and Europe's top five leagues of any player and the 14th highest passing accuracy.

De Jong's impressive start to his career has led to him being linked with Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona - who tried to sign him this summer - and others, with the Real reportedlyexternal-link prepared to spend 80m euro (£72m) to sign him.

Barcelona's former captain and midfielder Xavi saidexternal-link De Jong was "exactly what Barcelona need" and compared him to Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets.

Euro Leagues podcast analysis

European football journalist James Horncastle: "It's hard to categorise what kind of player he is. He can play at the back, he can play in midfield. He seems to be one of those classic Dutch footballers in that he is a universal talent - he can pretty much do everything.

"He can bring the ball out of defence and he can switch it. I remember earlier this year, Ajax played Roda in the Eredivisie. He came on, played in defence and ended up with three assists in a 5-1 win - switching it out to Justin Kluivert.

"Alongside [Netherlands and Ajax teenage defender] Matthjis de Ligt, it suggests there is a bright future for Dutch football after these last few lean years of missing out on tournaments.

"I think because of the cross-pollination with Barcelona and Ajax, he'd be very well suited to play there in the future. I don't want to call him the saviour of Dutch football, because I don't want to load too much pressure on his shoulders.

"But he's certainly a very interesting talent and someone who didn't come through the Ajax youth ranks. He was signed from Willem. He has a lot of the traits you associate with Ajax but a few peculiarities, differences which make him a really interesting talent."

Spanish journalist Guillem Balague: "Xavi says De Jong can make a huge contribution towards Barcelona. He's seen as a beastly talent and he's a player to keep an eye on.

"I know Barcelona are trying to convince him to move to the club. There were conversations in the summer but [Ajax director of football] Marc Overmars said no way he's leaving at this time."

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