Eric Abidal has revealed that Tottenham Hotspur were one of the clubs vying for Frenkie de Jong’s signature before Barcelona snapped up the midfielder in the summer of 2019.
De Jong’s reputation blossomed during the 2018-19 season, with the midfielder being a vital part of the young Ajax side that won hearts and minds by reaching the semi-final of the Champions League where they were beaten in dramatic fashion by Spurs.
Unsurprisingly, there was plenty of interest in the Dutch international’s services and Barcelona ended up signing him at the end of that season.
De Jong’s reputation has grown even more as a player since his move to Nou Camp, with the 23-year-old now recognised as one of the best midfielders in world football.
They interview Abidal regarding the same and the 41-year-old, who was Barcelona’s director of football at the time, revealed that Spurs were one of the other clubs that were trying to swoop for the midfielder.
Abidal said about Barcelona’s acquisition of De Jong: “I was already following Frenkie before arriving at the club. We had to recruit for this position and that was our priority.
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“Manchester City, Paris, Bayern and Tottenham made good progress on the matter. But we are Barca and we knew that his dream was to play for us.
“We, therefore, decided to attack and first contact Ajax, with whom Barca has always had good relations, then his representative.”
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In hindsight, it is clear that Daniel Levy was prepared to invest pretty heavily in the squad in the summer of 2019 as that was perhaps the window where our rebuild was officially set to be accelerated with the stadium move complete. We signed Ndombele for a club-record transfer fee, while also snapping up Lo Celso.
We reportedly agreed on a fee with Juventus for Dybala only for the transfer to fall through at the last moment while we also made an effort for Bruno Fernandes. Abidal has now revealed that De Jong was also on our radar. Unfortunately, the pandemic came at the worst possible time for us and has slowed down the rebuild.