Many had wondered if a sale might suit Barcelona, providing a quick source of cash and ridding themselves of one of the heaviest remaining salaries on their books. Hence Manchester United’s interest was a blessing for them.
Speaking yesterday at a homage to Johan Cruyff, Laporta had this to say.
“I am going to do what’s in my power to keep Frenkie, but it’s also a salary issue, and that has to be adjusted.”
“He is a Barça player, one of the best in the world in his position. We know there are clubs who want him, not just United, but we have no intention of selling.”
“He wants to stay, he’s comfortable in Barcelona, and I will do everything I can to make him stay.”
Yet Marca believe the operative words came in his first sentence. What sounded like an effusive refusal to statement of his desire to keep de Jong hinted at the central issue, which is his salary.
Their assertion is that Barcelona are happy to keep him or accept an offer from United, but if he does stay he will be asked to lower his wages. Reportedly de Jong is on a salary of around €10m per year and with the amortisation of his signing, he will cost the club around €40m this coming season. The requested reduction would also be considerable.
As with any potential transfer though, the final word lies with de Jong. Although Barcelona can ask nicely, de Jong is well within his rights to refuse a move and a wage cut. Regardless of what de Laporta may desire, de Jong holds all of the cards.