What's the story?
Dutch coach Aad de Mos has claimed that Barcelona captain Lionel Messi was desperate for the club to sign Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
In case you didn't know...
The Catalan giants have been long-time admirers of the Ajax youngster and have yesterday beaten clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain to his signature.
Barcelona confirmed the signing of the 21-year-old for an initial €75 million, with Ajax standing to make another €11m in add-ons if De Jong is successful at the Spanish club.
In a statement, Barcelona said, "FC Barcelona and Ajax have reached an agreement for the transfer of midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who will be joining the Catalan club from 1 July 2019."
"The cost of the transfer operation is 75 million euros, plus a further 11 million in variables. The player will be signing a contract for the next five seasons, through to 2023/24."
"The president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the CEO Òscar Grau were personally involved in closing the deal in Amsterdam."
The heart of the matter
After the announcement, De Mos claimed that Messi played a big role in Barcelona's new signing.
Speaking to HLN, the manager said, "The football that Barcelona play suits De Jong."
"Combining in the short space is entirely De Jong’s thing. When Frenkie has the ball, I sit on the edge of my seat. Then something unexpected can happen."
"While you and I see two football-playing solutions, De Jong sees three or four. That way he can surprisingly come out of the corner. And also important – he always plays deep, instead of in front."
"I heard that the big boss – Messi – wanted De Jong to join so very much. Then you know that Barcelona will make an effort."
De Jong will complete the current season with Ajax, before joining Los Cules in the summer, in preparation for the 2019-20 season.Published 24 Jan 2019, 11:21 IST