Frenkie de Jong has admitted he turned down the chance to join Tottenham Hotspur from Ajax last summer.
In January, Barcelona announced a deal for De Jong. The midfielder will join the La Liga giants at the end of the season.
Spurs were linked with a move for De Jong before the Barcelona deal was agreed, but the Londoners’ chances of signing the 21-year-old are now over.
De Jong, who has made 40 appearances across all competitions this term, has now revealed a transfer to Tottenham was closer than we thought.
Speaking to FourFourTwo, the Netherlands international admitted he had the opportunity to join Spurs last summer but wanted to complete a full season with Ajax following his breakthrough 2017/18 campaign.
“The moment wasn’t right. I wasn’t finished at Ajax, as I hadn’t yet played a full season in my own position,” De Jong said.
“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 [Spurs’] 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.”
It’s a shame Spurs missed out on De Jong, but it looks like he – or those advising him – knew he was destined to play for one of the European superpowers.
Tottenham will certainly be pursuing a new central midfielder this summer with Victor Wanyama’s likely exit set to reduce the squad’s depth in that position even further.