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Why the Move for €60m Rated La Liga Star Hanging on the Balance | The Transfer Saga Explained

Frenkie de Jong, Manchester United, Barcelona, Joan Laporta

It was a month ago when Manchester United first expressed their genuine interest in bringing FC Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong to Old Trafford. Since then, the Red Devils have announced three other signings, completed four pre-season games and are preparing in full flow for the upcoming 2022/23 season.

However, their dealings with the Catalan giants for the Dutch midfielder have become one of the most infuriating transfer stories in recent seasons. The potential move of Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United continues to remain at a stalemate, with all three parties prepared to seemingly drag out the saga until deadline day.

Frenkie de Jong, Manchester United
Image Obtained Via Team Talk

Despite the agreement of a deal worth €75m + €10m in add-ons between both clubs, the influence of various economic factors vis-à-vis Barcelona’s football operations and the player’s outstanding wages, alongside his reluctance to leave Camp Nou has seen the Red Devils struggle to acquire their priority target, hitherto.

Whilst many expect the Dutch midfielder to inevitably join his former manager at Old Trafford this summer, it remains unlikely that the 25-year-old arrives in Manchester before the start of the new season. With Barcelona reluctant to pay De Jong’s deferred wages (£17m) whilst forcing him out of the club, there remains only a matter of time before the three parties come to a conclusion before the end of this transfer window.

A Case of Deferred Wages

Whilst De Jong continues to reiterate his desire to stay at the Camp Nou, the player’s deferred wages are said to be a major stumbling block; stalling a potential move to Old Trafford this summer. According to reports in recent weeks, De Jong is required to be paid the entirety of his outstanding wages over the remainder of his contract (2026).

However, the Spanish club’s unwillingness to pay the amount combined with their decision to sanction the player’s sale to raise funds in a bid to buy new players as well as register them has seen them undermine the Dutchman on numerous occasions this window.

Amongst a raft of Barcelona players to have taken a pay cut in order to help out the club financially during the COVID pandemic, the Dutch midfielder is said to have seen his annual wage reduced by approximately £9.4m in 2020/21. The midfielder is reported to have undertaken a further cut last year, by agreeing to a £4.3m reduction in wages.

Although having agreed to a contract extension until 2026; allowing the Blaugrana additional time to repay his deferred wages, the fact that he is owed a basic salary of £13.7m alongside another £3.4m in waived bonuses has seen his current employers insist on him taking another pay cut if he were to continue at the club beyond this summer.

Moreover, with reports suggesting that the midfielder’s continuation at Camp Nou could cost the club a total of €40m over the coming season, De Jong remains on the list of players prioritised to be sold this summer by Barca.

Frenkie De Jong
Image Obtained Via Talk Sport

While United are said to have increased their guaranteed offer by €10m from an initial €65m in a bid to cover a part of the midfielder’s deferred wages, according to The Mirror, complicated tax implications alongside the requirement to abide by FIFA and UEFA codes of practice is said to have made it impossible for the Red Devils to cover the entirety of De Jong’s deferred wages.

Moreover, with the Blaugrana expected to owe the Dutch international a gargantuan total of €88.58m over the remainder of his deal, De Jong is likely to remain unflinching in his motive to first receive the wages currently owed to him by Barcelona, and then decide if he at all wants a move away from the club this summer.

Economic Levers

Having already activated two economic levers in a bid to raise funds to acquire new players alongside supplementing the club’s football operation, the activation of a third lever could reportedly see De Jong remain at the club beyond this summer.

With the club having sanctioned the sale of 10% of their T.V. rights alongside a further 15% to American investment firm Sixth Street for a combined total of around €527-537m, the departure of high-maintenance players could see the club raise additional funds while they also get to easily register their new signings in time for the upcoming campaign.

Image obtained via TEAMtalk

Whilst the sale of Barcelona’s assets are set to play a major role in dictating the club’s financial muscle over the coming seasons, De Jong remains the club’s most profitable player.

Moreover, having already agreed to a deal with Manchester United, the La Liga club are expected to do everything in their power so that they can register their new signings whilst being unwilling to pay Frenkie de Jong his deferred wages as they push him out of the club this summer.

Manchester United & De Jong

Besides the financial convolutions influencing the transfer, De Jong’s agent along with the player himself have remained consistent in their desire to remain at Barcelona for the foreseeable future. However, contrary to the player’s public stance showcasing his desire to remain at the club, reports have also suggested that Frenkie De Jong remains open to a move to Manchester United, with the player said to have held conversations with current Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag for a move this summer.

Having made the 25-year-old their priority target, United remain hopeful of securing a deal for the player. Ten Hag is said to be desperate for his signing; identifying De Jong as a core component to his plans in rebuilding the team, with the Dutch manager unlikely to move for a secondary option this summer.

Moreover, with club CEO Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough having been spotted in Barcelona a day before the agreement of a deal between both clubs, there remains optimism within the United camp, considering the stage of the deal alongside the need for Barcelona to sell their most profitable player this summer.

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With De Jong insistent on Barcelona paying his deferred wages before deciding on his future, United’s pursuit continues to rely on the progress between the two parties while they move towards the opening game-week of the season. Although having been involved in the pre-season tour with the La Liga club, should there be a breakthrough between Barcelona and De Jong, the player could immediately secure a move to Old Trafford in the coming weeks.

Finally, with Barcelona having conveyed their desire to sell De Jong owing to their financial struggles whilst being reluctant to pay his deferred wages, the summer’s most exhausting transfer story is expected to dawdle into transfer deadline day, with either of the parties likely to concede on their decision before the end of the window.

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