Sam Lee: Manchester City close in on Frenkie de Jong with Barcelona set to give up

Manchester City are in pole position to sign Frenkie de Jong from Ajax in a club record deal, Sam Lee of Goal reports.

A report at the weekend offered similar information, but Lee, a well-regarded City source, has now added his own information, claiming that sources close to Barcelona say the Catalan club have resigned themselves to City signing the 21-year-old.

The Blues will have to, and are prepared to, break their club record – broken twice in 2018 for Aymeric Laporte then Riyad Mahrez – to sign a player Pep Guardiola has identified as the perfect successor to Fernandinho.

City have informed Ajax of their willingness to pay €70 million (£62 million) with a further €20 million (£18 million) in bonuses for De Jong, making it a potential €90 million (£80 million) deal.

City believe they are very well-placed to sign De Jong after months of talks between sporting director Txiki Begiristain and Marc Overmars, who holds the same position at the Dutch giants.

Wary of past deals that seemed done then went wrong, such as Alexis Sanchez, Dani Alves and Jorginho, City are working hard to make sure the same doesn’t happen with De Jong, and a deal could even be completed in the coming months, with the player then loaned back to Ajax until the summer.

Barcelona are unwilling to match the fee City are expected to pay for the prodigious midfielder, considered a generational talent, and believe the only way they could get him now is if the player pushes for a move to Camp Nou over the Etihad Stadium.

The two clubs are also both keen to sign De Jong’s teammate, Matthijs De Ligt, another exceptional talent who has shone at centre-back for both Ajax and the Netherlands.

Earlier this week, City Watch spoke to an Amsterdam-based Ajax supporter about Frenkie de Jong, who he believes along with De Ligt could be Ajax’s best products yet.

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