Barcelona Lead Hunt For Dutch Starlet

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Ajax are bracing themselves for winter transfer window bids for 21-year-old midfield star Frenkie de Jong, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Both Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona contacted the Dutch giants during the summer break over the Netherlands international’s availability. Ajax insisted he wasn’t for sale and confirmed their stance when they rejected bids from both clubs.

The Catalans sent Eric Abidal to Amsterdam with a bid worth €30m, including bonuses but it wasn’t enough to persuade Ajax to negotiate. After returning to the Champions League group stage this season, the former European champions are determined to retain their squad as they try to reach the knockout phase.

Having already lost Justin Kluivert, 21, to AS Roma in a €19m deal during the summer, Ajax were in no mood to sell one of their other young talents.

Marc Overmars, the Amsterdam club’s sporting director, later confirmed that Ajax rejected a package worth €50m from Tottenham. The English Premier League club sought to strengthen their midfield by returning with a similar deal as paid for Davinson Sanchez, 22, in 2017.

De Jong began his career with Willem II Tilburg in 2015, making his debut against FC Den Haag in May of that year. Shortly after, he joined Ajax for whom he has made 37 first-team appearances, as well as 46 for Jong Ajax.

He has two Netherlands caps to his name, debuting as a second-half substitute during the 2 – 1 win over Peru last week, before starting in Sunday’s 2 – 1 defeat to world champions France in Paris.