Barcelona manager Xavi has reported admitted that the club may need to sell Frenkie de Jong this summer due to the clubs financial crisis. The 25-year-old Dutch midfielder has been heavily linked to Manchester United this summer, with Chelsea also waiting in the wings for another target to drift away from them.
The Sun has reported that De Jong’s pay dispute has held up the proposed transfer to United, with earlier reports suggesting that a deal had been closed between the two clubs, waiting on the player to decide his next move. It is reported that the Netherlands international is now owed £24 million in unpaid wages, which is higher than the £17 million previously reported.
United manager Erik ten Hag has his mind set on adding the midfielder to his squad with suggestions that there is no plan B and that it is either De Jong or nobody – which has happened at the Old Trafford before, especially the summer United spent trying to sign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, ending up red faced and panicking in the transfer market.
Xavi has spoken about the player after a recent pre-season match in the United States of America, in which the player did travel with the squad just over a week ago, suggesting that the club may need to cash in on the £65 million player because of the financial situation. Barcelona have pulled some financial levers, mortgaging future income recently, but that might not work. Xavi said:
“We’ve had private conversations that are very important, that I will not reveal here. He’s a key player, but then there’s the economic situation and Financial Fair Play.”
It is a dire situation for a club to be in, £1.2 billion of debt and deferred wages throughout the squad but the new signings this summer seem to keep coming. If the gamble does not pay off, the club could be ruined, which is the big problem here. De Jong is owed money which suggests his stance, seemingly wanting to remain at the Catalan club.
In the 1-0 victory over Real Madrid, De Jong played as a central defender in the second half of the match, replacing Andreas Christensen. It has been asked whether the manager was playing games or sending a message to the Dutchman as it seems rather strange that he was playing in the centre of defence, rather than in the midfield. He said:
“I am not sending messages to anyone. I like him a lot as a player. Playing as a centre-back, he can give us a lot, he can adapt to that position. We want that the centre-back distributes the ball and he does it very well.”
Contrary to these reports, in Spain it is been suggested that Xavi and De Jong recently held a meeting, which they were both ‘satisfied’ with. It was stated that De Jong will take another pay cut and stay at the club. This all seems rather strange with the player showing a desperation to stay at Barcelona, if these reports are true. It could all come back and bite him.
Written by John Walker