There was a welcome boost in Manchester United’s pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong this evening as transfer guru Fabrizio Romano claimed that the player would almost certainly not be willing to do what it takes to stay at the Camp Nou.
” Man Utd & Barça agreed €65m fixed fee but still discussing on €20m add-ons structure;
– Personal terms never discussed yet;
– Frenkie’s priority has always been to stay at Barça;
– Salary reduction ‘very unlikely’ option on Frenkie side.”
Frenkie de Jong situation 🇳🇱 #FCB
▫️ Man Utd & Barça agreed €65m fixed fee but still discussing on €20m add-ons structure;
▫️ Personal terms never discussed yet;
▫️ Frenkie’s priority has always been to stay at Barça;
▫️ Salary reduction ‘very unlikely’ option on Frenkie side. pic.twitter.com/bXcGIB3II3
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 3, 2022
The last of these points – that a salary reduction would be a “very unlikely” option, is the key issue.
Barcelona’s president Joan Laporta said yesterday that he wanted to keep De Jong but that a salary adjustment would be necessary.
This is thought to mean that a substantial reduction in the Dutchman’s wages would be required to keep him at the club, as has been the case with Ousmane Dembélé, who is now a free agent after refusing to take a similar cut.
The difference between De Jong and Dembélé, however, is that the 25-year-old’s contract runs until 2026 and in fact has pay increases built into it.
It is a game of bluff and double bluff from Laporta, who is trying to make De Jong look like the bad guy who wouldn’t take a pay cut to stay at his beloved club.
In reality, as the Spanish media are busy pointing out, despite the €200 million cash injection from the sale of TV rights, Barça still need to raise funds from outgoing transfers to secure their targets of Robert Lewandowski and Bernardo Silva.
The pair will cost a total of around €150 million and La Liga’s fair play rules state that only a third of incoming revenues can be spent on transfers.
This would leave the Blaugrana well short of the capital required, so a big sale such as that of De Jong is still necessary.
For his part, De Jong has continually pledged his allegiance to the Catalan club but the quotation marks around Romano’s words “very unlikely” suggest that sources say that his loyalty would not extend to taking a drastic cut in salary.