How Barcelona used Chelsea to get De Jong deal done

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • Updated: 15 Jul 2022 09:25 BST
  • 3 min read
FT Desk Updated: 15 Jul 2022 09:25 BST 3 min read
Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona

Barcelona used news of Chelsea’s supposed interest in Frenkie de Jong as leverage to ensure the Dutchman’s deal with Manchester United came to fruition, FootballTransfers can exclusively reveal.

Reports emerged from The Guardian that the Dutch midfielder was of interest to Chelsea and though that is true, further reports suggesting that the Blues were planning to make a move for the 25-year-old were not.

The central-midfield position is not a priority for Chelsea, who are currently in search of defenders and a striker. Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly is expected to come through the door, while reports suggest that Paris Saint-Germain's Presnel Kimpembe is a key summer target.

FootballTransfers has learned that the Blaugrana - who are currently in significant debt and need De Jong to get off their bloated wage-bill - attempted to use the news of a rival club coming in for the Dutch international as a way of applying pressure to Man Utd.

The Spanish giants are fully aware that Erik ten Hag's side cannot see the De Jong deal collapse during a time in which they have been attempting to save face and not be perceived as a club who now sells its best players.

FootballTransfers understands that the longevity of the saga concerning the former Ajax player has stemmed from the vast amount of outstanding wages owed to him. Barcelona reportedly owe De Jong €20 million in deferred wages, which have accumulated due to lowering his salary during the coronavirus pandemic, with the promise of repaying the wages owed during the remainder of his contract.

Frenkie de Jong will join Man Utd this summer

Frenkie de Jong will join Man Utd this summer

The simple fact is that Barcelona cannot afford to keep hold of one of their first-team players and their hand is forced to sell to Man Utd, who want to bring in De Jong to appease their new manager Ten Hag.

Ten Hag played a key role in De Jong move

FootballTransfers understands that a deal between Barcelona and Man Utd will happen, with De Jong moving from Camp Nou to Old Trafford this summer.

De Jong’s first choice was initially to stay at Barcelona, but after speaking to Erik ten Hag, he is now open to a move. Indeed, this would not be the first time that the former Ajax manager has turned a player’s head; it is FootballTransfers’ understanding that he was also pivotal in attracting both Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen to the club, with the latter of those deals still to be made official.

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