FC Barcelona will again try to sell Frenkie de Jong in the upcoming transfer market in January.
Ended by the close of the window on September 1, the Netherlands international was the focus of one of the biggest transfer sagas from the close of the La Liga season in May and over the summer.
In mid-July, it was said that Manchester United had agreed a deal worth €85mn ($85mn) with the Catalans for the 25-year-old’s capture, yet De Jong dug his heels in and refused to move.
United’s lack of Champions League football was said to be a primary motive for his desire to stick around at Camp Nou, but the playmaker is also said to be driven by a desire to flourish under coach Xavi Hernandez.
While the coach has publicly backed the former Ajax man who arrived at Barca for a €75mn fee in 2019, his team selections have not always shown that he trusts De Jong as a starter.
Other midfielders such as Gavi and Pedri have been given priority instead, and De Jong struggled when given Sergio Busquets’ pivot role away at Real Sociedad.
At fault for the Basque side’s opening goal when he dawdled on the ball and lost possession, De Jong fared better when afforded a start alongside Gavi in front of Busquets in Saturday’s 4-0 away win at Cadiz that fired the Blaugrana to the top of the table.
Scoring the opening goal, he played his best watch this season and may get the nod against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Despite this, SPORT report on Sunday morning that president Joan Laporta and his board will still entertain possibly selling De Jong in the upcoming winter transfer window.
As before, De Jong’s high salary is a sticking point, and Barca need him to take a hefty reduction so that they can navigate Financial Fair Play rules and also make reinforcements at the turn of 2023 and beyond.
Due to a contract re-negotiated on the watch of former president Josep Bartomeu during the pandemic, De Jong is set to earn €18mn ($17.9mn) this term and then €88.58mn ($88.4mn) over the last four years of his contract which expires in 2026.
Last month, there were reports that De Jong was finally willing to discuss a reduction, with no player earning over €10mn on Laporta’s watch which includes new signings such as Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde.
While it remains unclear as to who would be interested in De Jong in the coming months, a good World Cup could attract potential buyers.