Football IQ Observatory


Frenkie de Jong

One of the most promising central midfielders of his generation, Barcelona’s upcoming signing is special.

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Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona’s recent 70m signing, has been enjoying two sensational seasons after being promoted to Ajax’s first team. De Jong has been featuring in his natural position during the latest campaign, orchestrating the midfield, compared to last season, when he was used a lot as center back.

A joy to watch, de Jong is a highly versatile midfielder ,  combining different characteristics that constitute him a rare & precious breed.

AGE: 21

MV: 75.000.000 €




Position(s): LDMF


Football IQ Profile

Let’s have a look at his Football IQ profile. 

For this purpose we’ll use Football IQ’s DPI data-sets from the seasons 2017-2018 & 2018-2019. 


With 22 matches & 1656′ in 2017-2018 campaign and  21 matches with 1813′ in 2018-2019 campaign so far, we have a really solid sample to work with.

Mostly preferring a short-passing game, de Jong has been heavily involved with building from the back (Build Up) and promoting possession (To Adv Pos). At the same time he can bring the ball inside the box (InBox), penetrate opposition lines (Tunnel) and engage in combination play (Intelligent) quite as comfortably.  

De Jong can be characterized a passing machine, however a look at his tendency chart proves that he does more than that, with lots of dribbling and – lately – a fair amount of shooting.


De Jong was the most productive player in his position in Eredivisie in a series of metrics: Total number of successful passes, total number of successful passes promoting possession, build-up play, short-passes as well as passes to advanced positions. 

His attacking-defending balance is also worth noticing, with a rating of 90 at successful dribbling and a solid 89 at interventions.


In terms of efficiency, if we exclude his tunnel passes which needs improvement, De Jong’s ratings are impressive, considering he is above 80 in significant passing metrics such as intelligent passes, to advanced position and passes in box. 

At the same time he combines high efficiency at dribbling along with defensive & aerial contests. What a package!


For a player at his age, his passing overalls chart is quite impressive. What’s also very interesting is his consistency across seasons, with the radar lines almost overlap in most KPIs.


His attacking overalls chart highlights the different roles he was assigned with each season. Primarily featuring as central midfielder during the 2018-2019 campaign,  he was present in danger zones more often, recording more shoots & more goals compared to the previous campaign. Despite the differences, his dribbling remains consistently high, clear indication of his ability with the ball on his feet.


Difference in positions used across seasons is also evident in his defending overalls, with an impressive spike in interventions, a decent increase in defensive workrate and an expected drop in 1vs1 defending.  

Comparison with current Barcelona midfielders


Combining qualities rarely  found in a single player, de Jong is special. If he had showed up 25 years ago he would most probably had played as a libero or a number 10. Vision, anticipation, technique, intelligence. The Dutch youngster orchestrates from the back, links-up his team’s lines, carries the ball & dribbles past opponents,  while reading the game and defending space like a seasoned defensive midfielder.

Isn’t it too much to ask for? It is, but de Jong delivers. No wonder Barcelona splashed the cash to sign him. His upcoming pairing with Artur is definitely going to be interesting.

A big thanks to the gods of football and -of course Ajax’s youth system- for this gift to modern football.

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