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'I'd like to see him here' - De Jong issues Barcelona plea to ex-teammate De Ligt

02:30 GMT+3 06/07/2019
Matthijs De Ligt Netherlands
The former Ajax playmaker was finally unveiled to Barca fans at Camp Nou on Friday and hopes his Dutch teammate will join him in the near future

New Barcelona recruit Frenkie de Jong says he would like to see his ex-teammate from Ajax Matthijs de Ligt join him at Camp Nou, but that he cannot make up the defender’s mind for him.

Ajax skipper De Ligt has been the subject of intense transfer speculation since he led the Dutch champions to an unlikely semi-final appearance in the Champions League, where only a stoppage-time comeback from Tottenham prevented them from reaching the final.

Barca had been favourite to land the 19-year-old’s signature earlier in the summer, but it now looks like Juventus will win the race to sign Europe’s most sought-after defender after the Serie A champions reportedly agreed a fee with Ajax.

And De Jong, who was finally unveiled on Friday as a Barcelona player having agreed to join the club six months previously, says that even though he found the decision to move to Spain a simple one, it may not be the same for his international colleague.

“I'd like to see him [De Ligt] here, but I cannot decide,” said De Jong.

“He has to make that decision with his family. When I saw Barca wanted me to play here, the decision was very easy.”

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who is a known admirer of the player and had been leading his team’s assault to ensnare De Ligt from the Dutch champions, claimed he knows where the 19-year-old defender's future is, but remains unable to reveal it publicly. 

 “I have known where De Ligt will play [next season] for a long time,” said the president, referencing comments made previously to ESPN in April. “I still know but I cannot say anything else.”

De Ligt’s future has been the source of constant speculation for much of the close season, with Ajax sporting direct Marc Overmars conceding the defender would be departing eventually for a top club in Europe.

Goal reported in June that De Ligt had made his long anticipated decision in favour of Juventus, with new manager Maurizio Sarri receiving an impressive new tool to go into his defensive arsenal as he aims to guide the club to an ninth straight Serie A crown and a first Champions League title since 1996.