It’s International Break week which usually means that things are pretty quiet and settled, without a whole lot of news. Predictably, that also tends to be a time when transfer rumors tend to poke out of the background like meerkats in a show narrated by Sean Astin.
The one that has the most people buzzing at the moment is one from Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo that claims Tottenham Hotspur are extremely interested in Ajax midfielder Frenkie De Jong, to the extent that they are willing to meet the asking price of €50m. What the article DOESN’T say is whether that hypothetical Spurs bid might come in January, or next summer, if it comes at all.
De Jong is a monster talent in the Eredivisie. The attacking midfielder is fast becoming one of the most coveted young players in Europe — skillful, progressive, and with a grace that belies his 21 years. Ajax somehow managed to keep ahold of him this summer, but there’s no way that happens going forward — he’s leaving for a huge fee this summer, if a club can’t convince Ajax to part with him in January.
Now look, this is the Spanish football media, and if you have been following football transfers for any length of time you’ll know to take rumors during this time of the year with a huge grain of salt. Even if Tottenham are interested in De Jong — and I’m certain they are — they will still face some serious competition from some of the richest clubs in the league. The Mundo Deportivo article mentions Barcelona as his most likely destination, but PSG and Manchester City are also reportedly interested in him, and would easily be able to blow Spurs out of the water with a bid. The only way that De Jong realistically ends up at Spurs is if Frenkie himself decides that’s where he wants to go. And that’s possible, but consider me skeptical.
This is one of those circumstances where it’s great to just be in the conversation. De Jong is probably going to be a star, and he’s one of those players whom you dream about signing. Spurs lose nothing by swinging for the fences with Frenkie. And who knows? Mauricio Pochettino connects well with young footballers, and Spurs have a history of doing very good things with former Ajax players. I’ll hang my hat on that chance, even if it’s a very Lloyd Christmas chance.