The latest update on Manchester United’s pursuit of Frenkie de Jong could prove that the hold-up in the protracted saga is not actually down to the Old Trafford club.
De Jong was identified as Erik ten Hag’s prime target this summer but despite holding positive talks with Barcelona, a deal is yet to be completed after several weeks of negotiating.
Recently, Barcelona president Joan Laporta admitted that De Jong’s salary at the Catalan club is problematic but the 25-year-old has no intentions of amending his wages.
As per the report, De Jong reduced his annual wages to just €3m in 2019/20 in a bid to help the club through the COVID-19 pandemic. His wages were back up to €6m the following season but that is still a sizeable decrease from his original contract.
Now, ahead of the 2022/23 season, his wages are set to rocket to €18m per year for the next two seasons and €19m in the third year.
De Jong’s reduction over two seasons now means that should he leave Barcelona this summer, he is entitled to compensation for the lost funds.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Barcelona were counting on De Jong’s eventual sale in order to strengthen the team, with the midfielder expected to join United.
Barcelona have found themselves in a difficult financial landscape for several years now, with last summer seeing club legend Lionel Messi leave on a free transfer.
De Jong will feel that he is warranted any money Barcelona are contractually obliged to pay and if there’s a stand-off, it’s fair to assume that United are not behind this prolonged saga.
Ten Hag would have been desperate to have his former partner in crime through the door already but clearly, the operation to bring him to Old Trafford is far more complex than initially thought.