Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly has spoken with Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong over a move to Stamford Bridge, though did not get the response he was hoping for.
The 25-year-old is at the centre of the summer’s biggest transfer saga, having been chased for severally by Manchester United while Chelsea have now joined the race for his signature.
Barcelona are keen to cash in and get the Dutchman off their books, and cannot register some of their new signings until they get a big fee for De Jong.
But, the former Ajax star has little desire to leave Catalonia and is happy and settled in Barcelona, having already rejected a move to Old Trafford despite United agreeing a £73m fee.
Chelsea were believed to have a better shot at convincing De Jong to leave La Liga for the England, with one of the big negatives against United being their failure to qualify for the Champions League.
But the Blues will be playing in the competition this season, while a move to London is said to appeal more to De Jong and his family than relocating to Manchester.
But, according to Spanish outlet Relevo, De Jong has rebuffed a move to England after speaking to Chelsea chief Boehly in recent days.
The American businessman has been operating as the club’s interim sporting director after the exit of Marina Granovskaia – and others – after Abramovich sold the club.
Boehly has been busy this summer, signing Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling and Cucurella, and was hoping to improve Chelsea’s midfield – which Tuchel has identified as being a little on the old side – with the addition of De Jong.
He is Barca’s most sellable asset and the club gave Chelsea permission to speak to the player, with the Blues having intimated they would match United’s bid.
While De Jong listened to Boehly’s pitch during a phone call, he reiterated that his desire is to remain at Camp Nou & fulfil his contract with Barcelona.
Despite the snub, Chelsea will continue to try and convince De Jong to move to Stamford Bridge though there is a feeling that the deal may be too difficult to complete this summer.
The midfielder is owed around £14million in unpaid wages, having deferred his salary in the pandemic, and Barca expect the buying club to pay that particular bill.