Manchester United’s pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong is undoubtedly the most long-winded, drawn-out transfer saga of the summer – and journalist Fabrizio Romano has come out to pour cold water on some of the recent reports surrounding the move.
De Jong has been at Barcelona since 2019 but has not consistently shown the exceptional form that convinced the Blaugrana to sign him from Ajax. Now, Barca manager Xavi and president Joan Laporta are prepared to let him leave.
It is not entirely a footballing decision, however. Barcelona are also keen to get De Jong’s wages off the books.
Barca are currently saddled with debts of over £1billion and De Jong is the highest earner at the club, taking home a mind-boggling weekly salary.
READ: Ranking every Barcelona player by how much they earn: Pjanic 5th…
Chelsea are also reportedly interested in De Jong, but according to the Athletic, only United have reached an agreement with Barcelona – an initial £75million plus £10million in add-ons.
A move has not materialised, however, and competing theories have been aired as to the reasons for the delay.
It was recently claimed on Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf’s football podcast Kick-Off that United’s offer for De Jong had expired and that they would need to make a fresh offer for the player.
And while it had been widely reported that De Jong’s desire to stay at Barcelona was the main stumbling block, Dutch journalist Marcel van der Kraan last week claimed that De Jong’s agents had reached an agreement with United and that it was in fact the £14million Barca owe De Jong in deferred wages that are holding up the deal.
In his latest YouTube video, the Italian transfer market reported Fabrizio Romano has rubbished those reports.
“I see a lot of lies around on the Frenkie de Jong story,” Romano began. “Let me clarify one thing: the Frenkie de Jong story doesn’t depend on the clubs.
“Man United already reached an agreement with Barcelona more than one month ago. And they are pushing for Frenkie since May.
“Chelsea are ready to enter into it, are ready to pay what Barcelona want. They already told the agents of the player that they are in the race for Frenkie de Jong and that they want to try.
“Both clubs are there, Chelsea and Man United are there and will be there unitl the end if Frenkie will change his mind.
“But nothing is changing on the clubs’ side until Frenkie changes his mind. And now, as I am speaking, Frenkie is still in the same position: he wants to stay at Barcelona.
“The only way to change this story is Frenkie. It’s not Man United making a new bid, it’s not Chelsea making a big proposal. It’s not just about money, it’s about Frenkie’s idea, Frenkie’s decision.”
You can watch the full video here.
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