AJAX starlet Frenkie de Jong has revealed he was close to signing for Tottenham last summer before sealing his £65million move to Barcelona.
The Dutchman says he considered Spurs’ offer “long and hard” but realised it was too early for him to make the next step in his career.
De Jong, 21, will move to the Nou Camp this summer after Barcelona sealed the deal for the midfielder in January.
But the Ajax star has revealed he would have almost been finishing his first season in the Premier League now as he came very close to signing for Tottenham last summer.
De Jong was tempted by Spurs’ offer because of the club’s reputation for developing young talents.
The midfielder is also a big fan of Mauricio Pochettino and thought Tottenham’s playing style would suit him well.
But the Dutchman opted against moving to London as he didn’t feel ready for such a big move just yet.
He told FourFourTwo: “The moment wasn’t right. I wasn’t finished at Ajax, as I hadn’t yet played a full season in my own position.”
I considered their offer long and hard. I see Tottenham as a very stable club, and they are only getting better
Frenkie de Jong
“I was also injured in that period, so I was thinking, ‘Not yet’. I felt I should stay for another year at Ajax, or perhaps longer.
“I considered their offer long and hard. I see Tottenham as a very stable club, and they are only getting better.
“They give young players a chance and I see Mauricio Pochettino as a manager who really improves young players.
“I like the kind of football they are playing. I think it would have suited my game.”
Barcelona chiefs were aware of the growing number of clubs interested in De Jong’s signature and decided to swoop in and thrash out the deal with Ajax early.
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The Catalans had an advantage over their rivals due to the blossoming relationship with the Dutch outfit.
And Barca hope it will boost their chances of signing yet another Ajax starlet, centre-back Matthijs de Ligt.
The Liverpool and Manchester United transfer target has reportedly agreed terms with the La Liga champs already, hoping he will follow De Jong to the Nou Camp this summer.