The protracted transfer of Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona to Manchester United this summer is being held up because of the money owed to the 25-year-old midfielder following a deferment of wages from the 2020/21 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has once again made a public statement suggesting that De Jong is not for sale and the club does not want to sell him, which is the second time this has happened in the past few weeks. It seems to be very strange behaviour for a club that needs to sell.
It is stated in The Telegraph that Barcelona signed De Jong on a five-year contract in 2019 on a £12 million a year wage. That was reduced by £9.4 million for the 2020/21 season and by £4.3 million during the 2021/22 season – meaning De Jong is owed £13.7 million in deferred wages.
Added to that, the Netherlands international is owed a further £3.4 million in waived bonuses because he played in at least 60% of Barcelona’s matches over those two seasons. That means Barcelona will owe the player £17.1 million, which has held up the transfer.
De Jong renewed his contract at Barcelona at the time he deferred his wages, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2026, spreading the deferred wages over a longer period of time. It makes you think that the person who did this lacked forethought.
Barcelona’s finances are shocking and it is going to buoy them down every time they are forced to look at the finances, recently mortgaging their future earnings to buy them some time. It is a dreadful but of business for the club – laughable even for those that turn a blind eye.
United have reached a broad agreement for De Jong this summer, initially paying £55 million for the 25-year-old with and additional £17 million payable in add-ons. However, the payment structure for the add-ons was stated as a reason for the delay – but it is the deferment of wages.
United may have been hopeful at the weekend of securing the Dutchman in time for him to head out to Thailand on Friday ready for United’s opening preseason match against Liverpool, but that seems to be unlikely at this time. Perhaps the deal could be done for the Australia leg of the tour?
United signed Tyrell Malacia on Tuesday for £12.9 million from Feyenoord and have agreed a deal with Christian Eriksen, however, his move will be delayed because of a medical, keeping him off the flight on Friday. Lisandro Martínez is also a target this summer.
Written by John Walker