Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has opened up on the reason behind the club making the late deadline day signing of Luuk de Jong.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with SPORT, Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has revealed why the Catalans went after Netherlands international Luuk de Jong in the summer transfer window.
Barcelona had a tumultuous summer transfer window, to say the least. Losing Lionel Messi early in August, to then going on to sell Antoine Griezmann to a direct rival on the transfer deadline day, the Blaugrana were deprived of star quality in attack, although they had brought in Memphis Depay from Olympique Lyon.
So, a late scramble saw the Catalans make a swoop for Sevilla’s Luuk de Jong, getting the deal over the line late on the deadline day. Now, opening up on the decision to sign the veteran striker, Koeman has said that the Dutchman had been on Barcelona’s radar for some time and he was signed as he brings in a different quality to those already on the roster.
“No, because it had been looked at since the start of August. I wanted a different striker to what we’ve got and I thought of him because I know him well,” Koeman said.
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“In fact, I wondered how it’s possible Barça didn’t ever have a striker like Luuk. He gives us different options, above all in the air, from free-kicks and corners. We can play more direct with him. I am happy with his signing,” the Barcelona manager added further.
Despite Koeman’s insistence that they had been monitoring de Jong since the start of August, the fact that they moved for him only after Griezmann’s return to Atletico Madrid hints at a late scramble to add another forward to the ranks, rather than a well-thought-out and planned move.
While Koeman does know the striker well from his days as the manager of the Netherlands national team, de Jong endured a torrid season with Sevilla last year. So, it will certainly be interesting to see how he fares in his debut season with Barcelona.
With Sergio Aguero struggling with injuries and Martin Braithwaite hardly inspiring confidence, one would be forced to think that Depay will have to carry this Barcelona attack on his back.