Barcelona president Joan Laporta has told Frenkie de Jong to “understand the reality of the club” amid interest from Man Utd.
The Red Devils’ pursuit of De Jong has been the longest-running transfer saga of the current window with Man Utd making their interest known over two months ago.
There have been all sorts of narratives, but the clearest one at the moment seems to be that De Jong wants to stay at Barcelona but that the Catalan giants want to sell him, unless he agrees to an absurd pay cut.
It has been claimed that Barcelona are asking for him to take a pay cut of almost half his salary while they bring in multiple new signings. Maybe they should just honour his contract like a normal elite European club…
To add insult to injury, Barcelona still owe De Jong a reported £17m in deferred wages and bonuses from the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But De Jong has essentially been told to fall into line by Laporta with the Barcelona president telling the Man Utd target to “make an effort” to reduce the club’s wage bill.
“He wants to stay and we want him to stay. That is the most important,” Laporta said on Friday. “What is clear is that we have a new salary scale and all the players have to fit into it. We are trying to make these players understand the reality of the club.
“We find ourselves with a salary mass triggered by more than 40 per cent. We all have to make an effort. We are going to do everything possible to make him stay and we hope that the player will also do everything possible to stay.”
Barcelona have brought in Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen on free transfers this summer, while they have spent over £135m on Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde.
And Gary Neville thinks Barcelona are now “taking the p***” out of De Jong – which is hard to disagree with – after they confirmed the signing of Kounde yesterday.
Responding to a follower on Twitter, Neville said: “I actually don’t care if he signs for United or not! However it has highlighted a situation I’ve always been passionate about which is employers/clubs taking the p*** out of workers/players and not paying them their due money! Barca are a disgrace to their great name!”
Man Utd have had a broad agreement for €85m sealed with Barcelona for a while now but De Jong is understood to have reservations about moving to Old Trafford this summer.
Chelsea have also reportedly made contact over a possible deal too with De Jong apparently far more keen on a move there because of their participation in the Champions League.