Friday, February 22, 2019

De Jong more Iniesta than Busquets, says Ajax scout Bruins Slot

SoccerNews in Eredivisie 25 Jan 2019

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New Barcelona signing Frenkie de Jong is more like Andres Iniesta than Sergio Busquets, according to Ajax scout Tonny Bruins Slot.

The LaLiga leaders announced on Wednesday that the midfielder will join from Ajax in July for a fee that could rise to €86million.

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are among the teams who had also been interested in De Jong, but the 21-year-old was persuaded to move to Camp Nou thanks to Barca’s determined efforts to sign him.

The player has been tipped as a possible successor to Busquets, having impressed in the Eredivisie both as a central midfielder and occasionally as a sweeper.

Bruins Slot, who was Johan Cruyff’s assistant for Barca’s ‘Dream Team’ between 1988 and 1995 and has been an opposition scout and board member at Ajax since 2011, thinks De Jong is more of an attack-minded player in the mould of Iniesta or another former Barca star, Michael Laudrup.

“He has such a fine technique, he’s a footballer of the very top level,” he told Esports Cope.

“De Jong can play in Busquets’ position, but he doesn’t have the defensive level of Sergio. He has exceptional quality, though. He could play Xavi’s role, too, but he’s more Iniesta.

“His profile is to drift to the left and his vision can be taken advantage of in the final third. He has a touch like Laudrup.”

Describing De Jong as “the best in the rondos, which were created by Johan Cruyff,” in training, Bruins Slot added: “He needs to improve physically, though. He’s young, only 21, and he has to grow to compete in Spanish football. 

“But he can add something extra playing in a team with players like Lionel Messi, the greatest. He doesn’t lose the ball, he has great vision and, I repeat, a great touch.

“He is a serious kid, a really good person and a cool customer. He’s not influenced by his surrounding or the fans – he has a competitive mentality.”

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