Man Utd dealt new Frenkie de Jong setback as Barcelona claim ‘strong possibility he stays’

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta has conceded that there is a ‘strong possibility’ that Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong remains at the club. The Red Devils have chased the midfielder all summer but have hit several stumbling blocks. 

Wide-ranging reports suggest that De Jong is owed around £14-17million in deferred wages. It is also unclear whether the 25-year-old is open to a move to Old Trafford. 

Cash-strapped Barca want De Jong to stay and are attempting to renegotiate his salary to keep him. Several Los Blaugrana stars have accepted a lower wage to help the club ease their financial issues, including Ousmane Dembele who just signed a new long-term contract on a reduced pay-packet. 

But United remain intent on signing De Jong having made him their top target. New boss Erik ten Hag believes the former Ajax star can transform his midfield. 

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But Laporta believes there is a ‘strong possibility’ that De Jong will stay at Barca. He told CBS Sports: “In football, you never know. I can’t say categorically. It all depends on the different parties. But in principle, I can say there is a strong possibility he stays, and I can say as president I will do my best for him to stay at Barcelona.

“The first thing to say is we want Frenkie to stay at Barcelona. We love the player and him as a human being. I want him to stay at Barcelona. He’s a high-quality player and a good guy. I also know that he wants to stay.”

Despite being in a far better financial position than last year, Barca still need to balance their books. Several players have accepted a wage reduction over the last 12 months. 

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And Laporta hopes De Jong will join them in reducing his £165,000 per week salary and decide to stay at the Nou Camp. He continued: “All we are doing with Frenkie is the same as the rest of the squad. The signings coming in have adjusted their salary to the new structure. But Frenkie has a contract and we respect that. We can’t force him to take a pay cut. It’s his decision.

“We are trying to manage the football club in a prudent and sustainable way. So we have to have these talks and we do so in a calm and considered way. We have explained the situation and are grateful to any players who can help us. 

“It was the same with [Ousmane] Dembele and I am very grateful to him. And after months of talks, he accepted a renegotiation of his salary and he can be proud of his decision.”

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