Frenkie de Jong is reported to have told his Barcelona teammates he has no plans to leave the club this summer despite Manchester United’s efforts.
The ex-Ajax midfielder is said to have snubbed the chance to reunite with Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford in favour of staying put at the Camp Nou.
A fee between the two teams has actually been agreed for quite some time, but De Jong’s desire to stay at Barcelona is an obstacle for Ten Hag’s transfer plans.
United have made little secret of the fact De Jong is their main target, but despite the Red Devils offer of £63m plus add-ons being accepted by Barcelona the Premier League club are no closer to actually landing the Netherlands international’s signature.
Spanish outlet Cadena Ser claim De Jong has informed those close to him at his club he will remain a Barcelona player by the time the transfer window shuts later this summer. The same report also claims he has informed United’s hierarchy of his decision.
It would appear that De Jong’s verdict has not deterred United in their pursuit of the player and they remain confident they could sign the player in the coming weeks. Any deal from this stage would be quite remarkable given De Jong’s wishes.
Difficulty surrounding money owed to the player from Barcelona complicates things further, with the La Liga giants still yet to pay the £14m to £17m in deferred wages De Jong has earned. It looks as if he will not leave the club until he is paid what he is owed.
This has sparked a theory that Barcelona are trying some tactics to try and force De Jong out of the club – such as playing him as a defender, a controversial tactic deployed by manager Xavi during the recent pre-season friendly game against Real Madrid.
The 25-year-old has always been a midfielder throughout his career but some feel as if Xavi is deliberately trying to force De Jong out of the door by using him in a position that is unknown to him.
It would be ideal for De Jong to leave Barcelona from the club’s perspective due to their financial position and the fact the Dutchman is one of the few players on the books that could generate a decent-sized transfer fee means an exit is preferred by those at the top of the hierarchy.