Barcelona have told Frenkie de Jong they would like him to stay but only if he agrees to a significant pay cut and accepts a £6million settlement for his deferred wages. Despite being Manchester United’s top transfer target for most of the summer, the Dutchman has started attracting serious interest from Chelsea with Thomas Tuchel keen to add to his midfield.
The Red Devils have publically pursued the Netherlands international all summer with Erik ten Hag desperate to be reunited with his former Ajax prodigy. United had a bid of around £72m accepted for the player’s services however the deal did not progress with the player reluctant to leave the Camp Nou as he was owed over £17m in wages by his current employers.
De Jong was also believed to be uninterested in a move to Old Trafford given the club’s current performance struggles. This eventually caught the attention of Chelsea who are said to be prepared to match the 20-time Premier League winners’ bid for the midfielder. The London club may be a more attractive proposition than their English rivals given their ability to offer the 25-year-old Champions League football.
However, Barcelona have now reportedly made their play to keep the 44-time capped international at the club. Sky report that the Catalan giants want to keep De Jong at the club but only if he agrees to a substantial pay cut and accepts a settlement of £6m for his deferred wages.
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De Jong’s agents were said to be in Barcelona on Wednesday to try and find a resolution on the player’s future. The La Liga runners-up are in a tough financial spot after falling £1billion in debt and are facing a struggle to register their new signings for the coming season as a result.
The former Ajax man is believed to be one of the highest earners at the club giving Joan Laporta further impetus to sort out his future. Reducing or removing the player’s wages is one of the quickest ways that the club can start to solve their top priority issues.
Barcelona boss Xavi has also confirmed he would like to keep the player at the club but appreciates the difficult financial situation.
“I don’t send messages, I have spoken with him,” the Spaniard said after their recent pre-season victory over Real Madrid. “I value him very much, for me he is a fundamental footballer. But then there is the economic situation and fair play. He can give us a lot in central [midfield], I like him in that position.”
Reports on Wednesday night, meanwhile, claimed Chelsea were ‘confident’ of signing De Jong. Barcelona may not have to sell him after all to register their new signings though, with claims coming out of Spain that the club have told Xavi they will have all the fresh faces registered to play in La Liga by Saturday.