Frankie de Jong has admitted he thought he would play for Arsenal before making the move to Barcelona.
The 22-year-old has been hailed as one of the brightest young talents in world football and was a star of the Ajax side which reached the Champions League semi-finals last season.
The midfielder was key to their remarkable victories over Real Madrid and Juventus, and he would have been playing in the final had it not been for Lucas Moura’s last-gasp goal sending Spurs to the June showpiece in their place.
Several of Europe’s leading clubs were after his signature but Barcelona were the ones to land their man in a €75million deal in January.
De Jong has since revealed he always planned to play for Barcelona – though he thought he would take in a spell in the Premier League beforehand.
But which club did he expect to join as a stepping stone?
The answer to that question, De Jong has revealed, is Arsenal.
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He intended to emulate Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars’ playing career, going from Ajax to the Gunners, before eventually signing for the Catalan giants.
De Jong told Voetbal International: “In my mind I have had the following list for a long time: Ajax-Arsenal-Barcelona, call it the Marc Overmars route.
“But then again, if you can go directly to Barcelona, then you are right where you want to be. Faster than you ever dared to dream.”
Arsenal fans may be rue what might have been should De Jong, as expected, flourish at Barcelona.
The Gunners are in the market for a midfielder this summer following the departure of Aaron Ramsey to Juventus on a free transfer.
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