Barcelona facing Messi problem with De Jong as UEFA reveals major issue

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • 20 Feb 2024 12:00 GMT
  • 3 min read
Frenkie de Jong, Lionel Messi, Barcelona

Frenkie de Jong has been in the transfer news again this month, with rumours recirculating that the Barcelona midfielder could leave the club in the summer.

The Spanish press reports that De Jong is seeking to leave to further his European ambitions but FootballTransfers was told this side of the story is nonsense, with Barcelona actively seeking to rid themselves of the former Ajax star and his lavish wages.

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Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have once again been linked with a move for the Netherlands international, yet the prospect of a deal is limited as the player has no interest in leaving.

UEFA has made it clear just why Barcelona need to offload their biggest earner.

In its European Club Finance and Investment Finance report, published on Tuesday, Barcelona are shown to have the highest wage bill of any club in Europe.

Remarkably, Barca’s wage bill in 2023 was €639 million – more even than PSG, who had the trio of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi on their books. The Parc des Princes’ side wages came in at €617m – a figure they have since slashed with the departure of the two South Americans.

Top 5 wage bills in Europe (2023)

ClubWage bill (€m)
Man CIty554
Real Madrid453

Barca in trouble

Barcelona’s plight is worse than that of PSG, though. Spanish Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules are preventing them from making any meaningful headway in the transfer market due to their debts.

President Joan Laporta and his team are set to look for their summer reinforcements in the free transfer market, with significant restrictions on their spending set to remain in place unless two or three major players are sold.

It has been speculated that PSG might move for Gavi, who is a player that Barca desperately want to keep, but De Jong represents a star they would more willingly part with given that he earns in the region of €700,000 per week.

Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona
© IMAGO - Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona

Xavi is a huge fan of De Jong, but with the head coach leaving in the summer, this represents an ideal opportunity to part with the Dutchman without frustrating anyone in the dugout.

This is not, of course, the first time that Barcelona’s financial difficulties have forced a key player out.

In 2020, a tearful Messi bid his goodbyes to the club after they were unable to register his contract following the expiration of his previous deal.

Barcelona are trying to stop the same thing happening with their current stars, who they cannot afford to lose for nothing, and that means potentially sacrificing De Jong.

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