Manchester United’s pursuit of Frenkie de Jong has made headlines for over three months now with no resolution in sight yet. Another fresh twist has presented itself with Barcelona threatening legal action over the last contract that the Dutchman had signed back in 2020.
The Athletic have exclusively revealed that the Catalan giants wrote to the Dutch midfielder on July 15 “claiming to have found evidence of criminal actions on behalf of the parties who signed his renewal on October 20, 2020.”
“It was a two-year extension until 2026 that is reported to have reduced his salary for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, leaving €18million (£15.2m, $18.3m) to be spread across the subsequent four campaign,” the article mentions.
Barca want to rescind that deal and move forward with the original contract that was signed between both parties when De Jong signed for the club back in 2019.
Xavi: “I don't know what will happen to Frenkie de Jong. Until August 31st anything can happen…”. 🚨🔵🔴 #FCB
“He knows what I think and what the club want and need. Of course I'm counting on him, he's a great player”. pic.twitter.com/muavQByPho
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 7, 2022
The Netherlands international was not the only one to have signed fresh terms with Gerard Pique, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Clement Lenglet all following suit soon after. It was one of the final decisions made by then president Josep Bartomeu.
The La Liga side feel confident with the information they have that a criminal proceeding can be initiated against the previous regime, a move which might also implicate the diminutive playmaker and and his representatives.
Bartomeu insists no wrong was done
The same publication have spoken to members of the previous regime who have insisted that that there are no legal loopholes in the new contract. The same was also reiterated by former president Bartomeu in an interview with the Barcelona newspaper Mundo Deportivo last year.
Once again, this puts fresh doubts on the Camp Nou outfit and whether they are in a position to pay the deferred wages. This fresh arm-twisting tactic is exactly what Evgeniy Levchenko — chairman of the Dutch players’ union had warned against. This was previously reported here.
He had indicated that his compatriot might be a victim of extortion, something Joan Laporta and his group have vehemently denied time and time again.
Even FIFPRO, the global players’ union is closely monitoring the situation and are aware of how Barcelona are trying desperately to make the player accept another vastly reduced sum.
De Jong earns praise from coach, president
De Jong, however, refuses to speak out against his employers and insists he wants to remain a Barca player. He was on the pitch as Barcelona thrashed Mexican side Pumas UNAM in the Joan Gamper Trophy and even scored the game’s final goal.
“I don’t know what will happen to Frenkie, until the 31st of August anyone can move. He knows what I think of him and what the club wants from him. Of course I do count on him, he’s a great player,” was how Xavi summed up the situation.
Even the president reaffirmed what the coach said. “He is a Barça player, of great quality and we want him to stay. With him and his teammates we have a very powerful midfield. He has offers but we want him to stay and he wants to stay.”
Despite all the grandstanding, Barca have failed to pay the player his dues and Chelsea and Manchester United are awaiting further clarity regarding the situation.
If things do not clear up before the start of La Liga, both Premier League clubs will have to wait till the end of August when registration window closes in Spain. A definite answer can be expected this month.
Chelsea are leading according to reports with the London outfit even prepared to pay the deferred wages while a move to London and playing in the Champions League would appeal to De Jong. But United have agreed a fee with the Camp Nou outfit and Erik ten Hag has repeatedly called on his former star in a bid to convince him of the project in Manchester.