Ajax director Edwin van der Sar has compared the Barcelona-bound Frenkie de Jong to both Isco and Eden Hazard.
The 21-year-old midfielder has agreed to join Barcelona for next season on a five-year contract in a €75m transfer fee along with bonuses of €11m.
The Catalan giants fended off competition from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City to win the race for De Jong’s signature.
And Van der Sar accepts that the young star’s exit from Ajax was inevitable.
“You want to build as strong a team as possible and that’s better if the team stays together but we are in a smaller league, we know there are bigger clubs than Ajax,” Van der Sar told AFP.
“The fact that a player like Frenkie goes to Barcelona is also due to the support he received from the trainers and the other people here, which makes us proud.”
De Jong is regarded as one of Europe’s most exciting young talents following an impressive two years starring in the Ajax midfield.
The Netherlands international has been compared to Barcelona icons Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta and will be expected to become Sergio Busquets’ long-term successor in the Blaugrana line-up.
But Van der Sar instead compared him to Real Madrid’s Isco and Chelsea’s Hazard.
“He reminds me a bit of Isco at Real Madrid, that low centre of gravity, and Eden Hazard, with the way he dribbles and tries to beat people, as Frenkie does but in midfield,” said the former Manchester United keeper.
19-year-old defender Matthijs de Ligt has also been strongly linked with a transfer to Barcelona this summer.
“The relationship with Barcelona is excellent,” Van der Sar said.
“Josep Bartomeu says that Barca is the son and Ajax the father – but the son has maybe outgrown the father now. The son is 18 and we can’t lift him anymore.”