Frenke de Jong is reportedly ‘much more open’ to joining Chelsea than Manchester United this summer.
What’s become clear this in the days, weeks and months of this transfer saga, is that De Jong would prefer to stay at Barcelona, could be persuaded to leave if he’s paid the money that’s owed to him, and doesn’t want to join United if he is forced out.
It has been widely reported that Barcelona and United have a broad agreement for the transfer with the fee likely to come to around €85m.
The Dutch midfielder has reportedly been told by the Catalans that he must leave the club if he doesn’t take a pay cut of close to 50 per cent.
But De Jong really doesn’t fancy a move to Old Trafford and is still owed around £17m in deferred wages and bonuses from the height of the pandemic.
If he were to leave the Nou Camp, Sport (via Sport Witness) are reporting that De Jong is ‘much more open’ to moving to Chelsea than United.
New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly is said to have ‘shown interest’ in the 25-year-old, but the Blues have made it clear that they will not match United’s offer.
‘An agreement could be reached’ if Barcelona lower their demands.
The La Liga side would obviously prefer to accept United’s offer than anything less than that, but De Jong’s desire to play Champions League football may force their hand.
They desperately need to find buyers for surplus players to register their new signings.
This puts Chelsea in a strong position as, unlike United, they do not desperately need a new central midfielder this summer, but would take one of De Jong’s quality for a cut down price.
The Blues can bide their time and wait for Barcelona to reach panic stations, which they would presumably enjoy greatly having seen both Raphinha and Jules Kounde opt for the Spanish side over them.
Speaking on Monday, former United defender Gary Neville urged De Jong to “consider legal action” over what he sees as “bullying” from Barcelona.
“De Jong should consider legal action [versus] Barcelona and all players should be behind him!” Neville wrote on Twitter.
“A club spending fortunes on new players whilst not paying the ones they have under contract their full money is immoral and a breach.
“@FIFPRO should be all over bullying like this and stop it.”