The path of a player in Amsterdam seems often to follow the road to Munich. Ajax and Bayern Munich have very similar footballing philosophies and so it is no surprise players choose to move from one to the other. However, one Ajax name eludes the club. FC Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong still hasn’t found his way here from Amsterdam, despite being seemingly perpetually linked with a move to Bayern Munich.
If Bayern can land him — and that’s a big if — what footballing solutions would he provide to the squad?
Frenkie de Jong is a player who has been criminally misinterpreted by most of the fanbases of FC Barcelona and Manchester United. He is not a midfielder who naturally advances in a traditional sense as an 8 or further up the field the way he has been employed at FC Barcelona. He is a 6 who provides dynamism and ball progression from deep, setting a solid base for the midfield. It is a surprisingly little-known fact that Frenkie often played at centre-back for Ajax, including large parts of the legendary 2018/19 season in which Ajax reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. This opens up a lot of options for the team.
4-2-2-2: The double pivot
De Jong’s ability to progress the ball from deep while being astute defensively is amongst the best in the world. I think using him in a role similar to Thiago Álcantara in his final season at Bayern Munich would be ideal. That is to say, have De Jong drop in between the centre-backs and allow the centre-backs to push wider, which in turn allows the wing backs to push forward with more license. De Jong has the engine to push with the wing backs at times and give the now advanced Joshua Kimmich a safer option while not abandoning his defenders.