The news was out this week and it surprised nobody. Well, maybe PSG was surprised. But it was a done deal from the start I think. Barca swooped in late, brought their A-Team (chairman included) and made Frenkie and Ajax an offer he/they couldn’t refuse.
Ajax will make 75 Mio euros now with another 11 Mio in bonusses. Bonusses which, according to Marc Overmars, are seen as guaranteed. Willem II and RKC Waalwijk will also be paid a handsome couple of millions for their youth development work.
Frenkie on the how and why.
“I decided on Friday last week. We would tell the media this last Wednesday, so on Tuesday I apped all the players via our team app. I couldn’t have it that they would read it online or in de newspaper. They were happy for me. I love that we have clarity. No more questions about it, the media, people in the street. Don’t get me wrong, I never minded it, as people are curious. Fine. But I love to get on with football now. On Friday, I bit the bullit. It had to be Barcelona. It’s all about the club, the jersey. As a kid I had dreams of playing there. Now I had the chance. I had to take it.”
“Our process was simple. We had all these clubs interested, so we made a list of what I wanted from them. In terms of football, vision, style, but also city, and all this. I had a short list of PSG, Man City and Barca. And with those clubs we talked. First my manager and friend Ali, and then I had talks with them. And I am always doubting you know. I overthink things too much. It takes time with me, but I’m happy I have made this decision.”
“Paris St Germain would have been awesome as well. They made a real impression on me. Great team, super coach and I think they offered me a real chance on a starting spot from day 1. The French league can be an advantage too you know. You do get time to grow, it’s a bit between Dutch league and Spanish, in terms of intensity. But when Barca came and they were so keen, I couldn’t resist it.”
“I never went to check Barcelona out. Simply no time. They came to Amsterdam, twice. I did go to Paris and met with Thomas Tuchel and I visited Guardiola in Manchester too. Both clubs made a real impression and I don’t think I could have selected a wrong option here. It is not that I decided against Man City or PSG, but more a decision pro Barcelona. Spain is top. The challenge is biggest there. The French league is fine too, but I don’t think I would want to play there for the rest of my career. But in Spain…why would you leave Spain if you can play for Barcelona for 10 years, right?”
“Three years ago I went to see Barcelona – Sevilla in the Camp Nou. I had just signed for and moved to Ajax. I never could imagine then that this would happen. But once you are with Barcelona, I don’t think you’ll ever want to leave. Top climate, best club in the world, that is the dream scenario. I was told I will have a real chance to start in the starting eleven. That perspective was key for me. They do have a lot of midfielders and I wasn’t given any guarantee, of course. I am quite realistic, myself. Busquets is easily the best defensive mid on the planet and he’ll be there for a while longer. I am not delusional. But there are other spots on the midfield and Barca sees that I can play on all these spots. I am going there to become a starter but I won’t be saying “I will play him or him out of the team”. ”
“It’s an obscene amount of course. And I really enjoy this for Ajax, Willem II and RKC and for Ali as well of course. I personally can’t be bothered, whether I am valued at 20million or 120million. I am just happy I could decide. I can tell you, I have been lying in bed wondering what to do, hahahaha. It’s a luxury problem to have right?”
Messi and Suarez
“It’s amazing to be playing with Messi, of course. That is all I can say now. For me, it wasn’t key. The key was the club. And yes, I am a big Messi fan, he’s the Best Ever for me. And I think I will enjoy playing with him but I am not going to go there as a fan. It’s about the club and the team. Luis Suarez sent me a message the other day, welcoming me at the club. And he was keen to help me with stuff. Just like Jasper Cillesen. I spoke with him about Barcelona before of course.”
“Ronald Koeman believed all three options were great for me, but I think Barca was his fave as well. He said “now I have a reason to go there and watch Barca play” hahaha. He was excited for me.”
“I do think at times: am I good enough for Oranje. And in particular because I am never so self assured. Barcelona was quite confident about me and my chances, hahaha. So I will listen to them. But no, if I work hard and learn the language etc, I will give myself a good chance. I don’t want to blame myself in the future. And if my best is not good enough, well, at least I tried. I’m only 21 years old, I will still get better.”
“Some people say “it went quick” but I don’t think so. I had to be patience at Willem II, at Ajax 2 as well as I played mostly for Young Ajax. Once I got into Ajax 1, finally, it went fast. And I do have competition here. But I am hungry to win trophies man, I really only have this season to win something with Ajax. I want a trophy this season, but everyone thinks like that in our squad. It’s all about the trophies.”