Spanish outlet Sport has set social media alight this afternoon after claiming that a deal between Manchester United and FC Barcelona is close to being agreed.
The Blaugrana’s ongoing financial problems have reached a peak this week as it was revealed that they could not afford to pay the players’ wages at the end of the month as things stand. Their need to sell one of their crown jewels is therefore an open secret and a price tag of €80 million (£68m) has been widely touted.
And according to Sport’s report this afternoon, United have already said that they are willing to pay that amount.
“The Blaugrana club and Manchester United are now very close to reaching an economically advantageous sale agreement for Barça after the latest direct talks between the two teams,” the Catalan publication says.
“The figures will be close to €80 million (£68m) and will be a financial boost for the club in these decisive moments to find financial solutions.
“Barça would only sell one of its best assets for an irrefutable price. In recent days, United have already started their final offensive, reaching figures for which the Blaugrana club is beginning to open the door to the player.
“They will make an important effort both in a very high fixed payment and in variables. At United they are clear that there will be no problem to close an agreement in the coming days:”
Whether or not the two clubs are close to an agreed price will mean nothing if De Jong is not willing to leave Barcelona.
The Dutchman has said on numerous occasions that his ‘preference’ is to stay.
However, as reported here this lunchtime, speculation has been mounting that a shift was taking place in his thinking.
After putting in a world class performance for Holland yesterday, the 25-year-old said that the way his national side plays suits him better than the system at Barcelona.
This has been widely interpreted as a veiled criticism of Barça head coach Xavi, which in turn could be a hint that De Jong is not as happy at the Camp Neu as he has been making out.