Frenkie de Jong is set to snub Man City in favour of PSG.
Dutch outlet De Telegraaf are reporting the Ajax wonderkid is the subject of a €75million ‘robbery’ on the Ligue 1 champions’ behalf.
21-year-old De Jong has long been fancied to link up with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad, but it appears PSG are about to inflict a fourth near-miss on the reigning Premier League champions in the space of a year.
The question is, do City really care?
Probably not, to be honest.
Missing out on transfer targets is frustrating but it’s not like Guardiola is in desperate need of reinforcements.
City missed out on Alexis Sanchez last January — a dodged bullet in hindsight.
Man United then repeated the trick by signing Fred in the summer.
The Brazilian was heavily linked with Man City after impressing against them in the Champions League, but Shakthar Donetsk’s demands proved non-negotiable.
Fred joined United for £52million but has featured sparingly this season, with Jose Mourinho falling back on the likes of Ander Herrera, Scott McTominay and Marouane Fellaini.
Guardiola was then desperate to sign Jorginho, before the deep-lying playmaker followed Maurizio Sarri from Napoli to Chelsea.
De Jong would be the fourth high-profile player to swerve City since January.
For most teams, such a string of rejections would be devastating.
But Man City are not ‘most teams’.
While Sanchez has struggled for form, Riyad Mahrez has flourished.
Missing out on Jorginho has not hindered City in the slightest with 33-year-old Fernandinho continuing to show his worth during the first third of a potentially imperious title defence.
Like all men, the Brazilian will eventually succumb to Old Father Time’s oppressive ways.
Hence City’s courting of Fred, Jorginho and De Jong.
The primary reason City shouldn’t be too concerned about their failed pursuits is the confidence they have in Guardiola’s ability to improve players.
Would Sanchez and Fred have stalled at the Etihad the way they have at Old Trafford?
We will never know — but we reckon probably not.
De Jong is clearly a talented kid with a style compatible with Guardiola’s philosophy.
Those ‘in the know’ seem to think he will succeed wherever he ends up, but surely his ceiling is highest under the best coach in the world?
City will now make their way down the shortlist.
Whomever takes up Fernandinho’s mantle, be it Ruben Neves, Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele, or someone else, it’s hard to imagine them being anything other than a roaring success at the Etihad, such is the elite nature around the club at the moment.
Following the revelations concerning Financial Fair Play published in Der Spiegel, City are under investigation with the threat of a Champions League ban looming.
Just how much this is affecting City’s transfer activity, we do not know for certain.
From the outside, a player choosing Man United, Chelsea or PSG over City appears somewhat odd, though there are many factors to consider.
All the while City are demolishing opponents at will, they can dismiss setbacks like De Jong’s snub as mild annoyances.
It’ll take something far more significant to derail Guardiola’s train this season.
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