Last week it emerged that in a tug-of-war between two European superpowers, Barcelona triumphed over PSG and secured exciting prospect Frenkie De Jong from Ajax.
The Dutch star will arrive in a £65million deal this summer, a major coup for the La Liga giants who had looked destined to fail in their bid to counter the significant financial power of Qatar Sports Investments. For the past few months, reports in both Spain and France suggested PSG had lured the 21-year-old but then Barcelona made the deal.
DE JONG ANNOUNCED
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— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 23, 2019
Subsequent to the signing, it emerged that Barca president Josep Bartomeu flew to Amsterdam in a bid to convince the midfielder his future was with his club. Now, a report in Spanish publication AS has shone a light on what was said at that meeting.
Per AS, a decisive factor in De Jong joining Barcelona was a series of WhatsApps from Neymar to Barcelona team-mates and executives. In those correspondents, the Brazilian expressed regret at ever leaving the club and wanting to return.
Journalist Santi Giménez reports that De Jong was shown all these messages.
In the midst of doubt as to whether it was better for him to go to Paris or Barcelona, De Jong was shown messages from Neymar to people in the Blaugrana club in which the Brazilian complained about the low competitiveness of the league, the hardness of the rivals or of the weather and in those he recognized that he had made a mistake by leaving Barcelona.
It has been widely suggested that Neymar is unhappy in Ligue 1. Just last week, El Mundo claimed that Neymar had already contacted Barcelona hoping for a return. His notorious agent and father responded to the report by claiming it was 'fake news.'
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Both clubs are still competing on domestic and European fronts. Yet behind the scenes, there is an equally competitive battle to sign, and keep hold of, certain players.