Manchester United have already signed Tyrell Malacia with free agent Christian Eriksen likely to be next through the doors. A deal for Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez seems to be progressing well. However, new manager Erik ten Hag’s priority from Day One has been the signing of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, someone he sees as being key to his new sporting project.
It was widely reported that the deal was close to completion with the Premier League club having agreed on paying €65 million up front with around €20 million more in add-ons. There was a broad understanding that the Catalan giants had agreed to that proposal with the details of the add-ons still to be figured out.
And it seemed like smooth sailing but Barca president Joan Laporta‘s comments complicated the situation further. He even suggested that the club would do everything in their power to hold on to their prized asset but that would involve De Jong accepting a salary cut.
The player’s entourage has made it very clear that will not happen. According to Marca, the Dutch international is already owed a lot of money including wages due as well as different loyalty bonuses.
Fixed & bonuses
Whatever Laporta is saying is a ruse as Marca have revealed the extent of money owed to the former Ajax star. This is one of the main reasons why the club is negotiating a transfer with the English giants.
De Jong has four years left in his contract with the Catalan club and he is owed a total of €88.58 million in fixed wages while various bonuses and incentives will add another €20.8 million to the payments list.
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) July 6, 2022
These bonuses include €2 million each year if he plays 60 per cent of the club’s matches which takes it up to €8 million in total. In the event the Camp Nou outfit claim all the Spanish titles on offer and reach the Champions League final, a maximum of €12.8 million will be added (€3.2 million per year).
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the footballing economy across the globe and Barcelona were no exception. All their players agreed to take a significant pay cut in order to facilitate the smooth running of the club. However, those wages were supposed to be paid back once things normalised.
And now that things are back under control, the midfield maestro is owed a lot of money. His original contract stipulated a guaranteed €14 million a year as wages.
Once the pandemic struck, 12 per cent was deducted unilaterally across the board and the Dutchman received €12.32 million. As the pandemic worsened, so did the salary.
In 2021-21, the Dutch international received €3 million in total and the following season he got €9 million. Which means a backlog of €16 million which needs to be paid. The plan is to pay €4 million in addition to his original fixed salary each year.
On top of all that, there are loyalty bonuses he has in his contract totalling €15.58m euros.
The player is due to receive €21 million this season.
The 2023/24 season would be the highest as De Jong is liable to get €27.7 million which includes all bonuses. That could go higher in case of variable conditions being met.
Sale a necessity
All this has meant the La Liga giants have identified the diminutive midfielder as the best option to raise capital. They would be saving a lot on his enormous wages which would free the wage bill, meaning new players can be added to the roster. United’s offer of €65 million would also help the club go after Xavi’s top target Bernardo Silva of Manchester City.
According to The Athletic, July 30 is the day Barca have set themselves to provide a financial update to La Liga regarding next season’s salary limit. And Laporta needs to solve the club’s financial woes by then or new signings cannot be bought and already announced players like Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen cannot be registered.
The clock is ticking for both Barcelona and United.