Barcelona are considering grounding Frenkie de Jong as they try to bully him into leaving the club.
De Jong is the subject of transfer negotiations between the Catalan club and Manchester United, who have reportedly reached full agreement over a €75m + €10m move.
However, so far, the 25 year old has refused to leave Barça, who owe him €17 million in back pay.
It was revealed yesterday that the Spanish side need to sell the player in order to satisfy financial fair play rules and to be able to register new signings Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen and Raphinha.
A story later followed that the Blaugrana had “officially” told De Jong he must leave the club this summer.
However, with a contract running until 2026, the player has the law on his side and has remained adamant he will not go.
Now, in an extraordinary turn of events, Mundo Deportivo report that the club is considering excluding the Dutchman from the pre-season tour of the USA.
The flight leaves tomorrow and the decision has been left in the hands of coach Xavi.
“In fact, Barça do not know if De Jong will go to the United States or not. The decision is not made,” the outlet explains.
“On paper, it’s up to Xavi to call him in for the trip or not. For now the club has not spoken with the coach about the decision to take him on tour or not, but the entity does not rule out any possible scenario. Not even that it is decided to leave him on the ground, waiting for him to reconsider and decide to go to United, or agree to consider transferring him to the English club.
“It seems that the coach will decide.
“Sources consulted by MD see it as difficult for Xavi to leave Frenkie out of the trip if at that moment he continues to refuse to be sold, as he has until now.”
Many reports have claimed that the stand-off is all about the backpay owed to the 25 year old and that United remain confident that he has indicated his willingness to join them. However, another Spanish outlet, Sport, insists that he simply does not want to join the Old Trafford outfit.
“Ali Dursun, agent of Frenkie de Jong, met [on Wednesday] with Richard Arnold, CEO of Manchester United, and John Murtough, director of football for the English club, to reject for the umpteenth time the transfer of the Dutch midfielder to the Premier League,” Sport claims.
“In a hotel on the seafront in Barcelona, the delegates of the English club met yesterday afternoon with the player’s agent … but they found an unpleasant surprise that could put end to a soap opera.
“He flatly refuses to go and live in Manchester.”
Sport adds that De Jong’s love of the city is the main reason for his decision, along with the “little sporting interest generated by both the Premier League and Manchester United.”