Manchester United are yet to acquire Frenkie de Jong despite weeks of negotiation, with the midfielder included in FC Barcelona’s training camp in Miami.
United have reportedly agreed a deal worth up to £71.5m with Barca for the player mooted as Erik ten Hag’s top target.
The holdup appears to be an issue of deferred wages, with the playmaker agreeing to a back-heavy contract as Barcelona looked to cut short-term costs following their financial meltdown.
This essentially means that De Jong has been underpaid over the last couple of years, with the Catalan giants agreeing to make up for those lost earnings with a bigger salary in the coming seasons.
However Barcelona now look desperate to sell before the playmaker is entitled to a mammoth salary which would limit their ability to register any of the four new players they have splashed out on.
The player is understandably unhappy with the club, believing he ought to be compensated for agreeing to a deferral agreement which Barcelona are no longer happy to honour.
With around £17m owed to De Jong in deferral payments, the onus is on Joan Laporta to negotiate some kind of compromise, or Barca will end up having to pay the Dutchman up to £24m per season should he see out his contract.
As such, United are waiting for the issue to resolve itself, with the relationship between club and player at breaking point.
Featuring as a second half substitute at centre-back against Inter Miami yesterday may just have further soured that relationship.
For Barca, that almost seems to be the plan.
La Liga kicks off on August 13th, and with Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessie, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski all yet to be registered in their squad, Barcelona must find a solution soon.
While the saga is likely to rumble on, it would seem that the waiting game is the right one to play for Richard Arnold and John Murtough.
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