Ajax sign highly-rated starlet Razvan Marin to replace Barcelona-bound Frenkie De Jong

Ajax have signed Romanian starlet Razvan Marin to help fill the hole left by Frenkie De Jong’s sale to FC Barcelona. De Jong is considered one of the world’s best young players, and Barcelona won a battle with Manchester City – who hosted the player on a brief visit to the north-west – and Paris Saint-Germain for the Dutch midfielder’s signature. He will join up with the Spanish champions after completing his season in Amsterdam, where Ajax are still on for the treble after reaching the Champions League quarter-finals.

Marin has been billed as a De Jong replacement by people close to the Dutch giants though the 22-year-old midfielder, who arrives from Standard Liege for £10.7m (€12.5m), is unlikely to be the only arrival at the Johan Cruijff Arena this summer. Brought by Standard Liege from his team, Viitorul Constanta, in the winter of 2017, just before he could win the league title with Gheorghe Hagi’s team, Marin established himself as a regular quite quickly on his midfielder position, and also started scoring goals and attracting interest from Europe’s top teams. He’s also a member of Romania’s national team ever since 2016, and has been nominated as Romanian Football of the Year at “Gala Fotbalului Romanesc” (Romanian Football Hall) last year, while he came second place in the GSP Awards, losing to Liga I goalscorer George Tucudean. Speaking about his numbers, achievements and talent, maybe Razvan Marin could in time become a fit replacement for Frankie De Jong, but he’ll have to mature a lot more in order to become an exponential member of the Dutch giants. I think the move is worth a shot, since it remains to be seen how good or bad will this Romanian midfielder prove himself.

In addition to De Jong, there’s also Matthijs De Ligt, Ajax’s 19-year-old central defender, who is coveted by a number of Europe’s top clubs with Barca keen to reunite the Netherlands internationals if possible. The finances of that deal are somewhat more difficult for the Catalans to get done, but with Ajax showing an interest in young defender Jean Clair Todibo and midfielder Carles Aleña there remains hope of a deal. Ajax also hope to retain a number of other players who have caught the eye this season, including Argentina international Nicolas Tagliafico, a left-back, goalkeeper Andre Onana, striker Kasper Dolberg and midfielder Donny van de Beek. Maximilian Wober has already committed to signing for Sevilla. With vultures circling such a gaggle of talent, it is no wonder Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars has chosen to move quickly and Marin arrives with a reputation as ‘the Romanian Xavi’, according to local reports. If he is anything like as good as the World Cup winner then his stay with Ajax may also be fairly brief, with the pipeline of talent between Amsterdam and Barcelona that was so prolific in the 1990s looking to have reopened for business. In any case, let’s see what this adventure will turn out for both Ajax and the player.

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