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Weekend Premier League predictions

Premier League

Boro's defence to be tested vs. West Ham


City could have signed De Jong for £2.3m

Manchester City have literally paid the price for their impatience in the transfer market after it emerged that £17m new signing Nigel De Jong had a £2.3m release clause in his contract that would have activated in just four months.

The Hamburg SV midfielder completed his switch to Eastland's on Wednesday and although City were made aware of the clause they were unwilling to wait until the end of the season as they battle against relegation.

De Jong, who cost Hamburg just £1m from Ajax in 2005, is now the most expensive player to leave a Bundesliga club and his former employers are delighted with the deal.

"The club just couldn't refuse the offer," Hamburg manager Martin Jol said.

Despite City's current lowly position in the Premier League De Jong described his move as a step up after being seduced by club's lofty ambitions.

"The ideas and the planning behind this club make me very hopeful," the 24-year-old said. "It is a new adventure so I am delighted to be here."

The Holland midfielder will fly out to Tenerife to join his new team-mates at their warm-weather training camp ahead of what is likely to be his debut against Newcastle United next Wednesday.

Having had a quick glance at the Blues' impressive home, De Jong has the feeling he will like his new surroundings.

"The stadium looks great and it can only be better when it's full of people," he said.

"I am looking forward to playing here because everybody knows that the Premier League is maybe the biggest competition in the world."

De Jong is City's third major signing of the January transfer window following the arrivals at the City of Manchester Stadium of Wayne Bridge and Craig Bellamy.


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