Why Frenkie de Jong's Man Utd transfer is held up by La Liga rules

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • 22 Jun 2022 16:43 CEST
  • 3 min read
FT Desk 22 Jun 2022 16:43 CEST 3 min read
Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona, 2021-22

Frenkie de Jong's protracted transfer from Barcelona to Manchester United is getting held up by La Liga rules.

Manchester United are known to be keen admirers of the Dutch international midfielder, with incoming coach Erik ten Hag having previously worked with the 25-year-old at Ajax prior to De Jong's summer 2019 move to Camp Nou.

Whilst De Jong has previously described Barcelona as his "dream club", United have a need to freshen things up in central midfield with Paul Pogba set to join Juventus on a free. Meanwhile, Barca are looking to free up funds for the €50m purchase of Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.

De Jong is ranked at €64m by FootballTransfers, but Barca are understood to want to drive his price up past the €85m they paid Ajax for his services three years ago.

Barcelona's budget?

Barca have endured financial dire straits in recent seasons, and although they are about to raise €600m from the sales of licensing and merchandising as well as television rights, a La Liga rule meaning they can only spend a third of their transfer income remains in place.

According to a report in ESPN, Man Utd are only willing to spend up around €58-70m (£50-£60m), with De Jong just one of a number of signings they plan to use their overall budget of €116-175m (£100-150m) on.

Another former Ajax man, Brazilian winger Antony, looks increasingly likely to follow Ten Hag to Manchester. Christian Eriksen, a midfielder like De Jong, is also available on a free after a single season with Brentford.

Acquiring the Dane wouldn't stop United's pursuit of De Jong, though, with the former Tottenham Hotspur man seen as an addition rather than an alternative to the Dutchman - assuming he would move north having spent eight years of his career in London.