The return of Joan Laporta Barça conditioned Frenkie de Jong, a player who, the dispatches insist, is a favorite of the president.
Without the warmth of a squad in full restructuring and under the tutelage of a coaching staff that he does not end up falling in love with, the Dutchman has been left unprotected, at the mercy of the insistence of the sports management to place him on the market and without the care of his agent. He, for now, resists. He has no more arguments than an irreducible will to continue at the Camp Nou.
In October 2021, the destabilization of De Jong began. “It is very difficult to perform well when you feel that they want you out,” an employee of the technical secretary commented at the time. The Dutchman was not disturbed. He did not give importance to the fact that Barça thought up personal problems for him — “They were not true”, they assured from those around him —, while he was excited about the arrival of Xavi Hernández. “It can make you grow,” added the same sources. The Catalan coach, for his part, hoped to redirect De Jong’s talent. “He can be one of the best midfielders in the world,” assured the coach. However, the Oranje midfielder had to step up. “He’s a nine or 10 point player for a certain system, but in positional play he’s a seven or eight. He has to grow ”, they explained from the coaching staff. And Xavi got down to work: “He is intelligent and wants to learn”.
But Xavi’s pedagogy and De Jong’s will collided with the financial health of the club. Even even with Laporta’s wish. “Frenkie loves it”, they say from the offices. With the 2021-2022 campaign completed, while the economic area was looking for injections of money, the sports management thought how to reduce spending. The name indicated, again, was that of De Jong. According to the club, the player’s salary decompensated the new salary scale of the Barça group: 43 million. In the Dutch environment, on the other hand, they assure that his record is 24 million gross. “28 if he wins the Champions League”, explain sources close to the footballer.
United appeared strongly to take him away. He was offered five years for more than ten million net per season. But he wasn’t interested. Chelsea also asked about him. “Frenkie wants to stay”, explains an employee of the Barça club. Barça, then, returned to the fray. According to The AthleticFollowing his refusal to sign for United in June, the club sent him a letter threatening to terminate his contract. Without specifying what crime they are referring to, the Barça entity’s lawyers argued that there are indications “of illegality in the last renewal” of De Jong in November 2020.
In a hurry to lower the wage bill, estimated at 620 million (with amortizations included), the sports management insists on De Jong to lower his salary. He refuses. “He already helped the club last season: he charged three million [brutos]”, they remember from their surroundings. “In addition”, they add; “We don’t understand how the club can spend 200 million on transfers and can’t afford the salary of one of the best players in Europe.”
With his name in the eye of the hurricane, last Wednesday a small group of fans received him with insults at the Ciudad Deportiva. “It’s normal, people read in the press that they don’t want to help,” they point out in the sports management. The player’s representative, who does not see his departure with bad eyes, traveled to Barcelona. “The best thing he can do is leave. The environment is very toxic”, they say from Frenkie’s environment.
His attitude in the dressing room has not changed, neither in training nor his relationship with the staff. “Work as usual. He is a professional ”, they highlight. And Xavi added: “He is an important player and I can use him. There is still a market. We don’t know what will happen to Frenkie.”
Clinging to his number, De Jong no longer has anyone to take care of him.