Behind the scenes as Man Utd train for Liverpool friendly
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Barcelona boss Xavi reportedly outlined his transfer stance to Frenkie de Jong during a phone call held at the end of last season. The Netherlands international is set to reunite with Erik ten Hag and become the marquee arrival at Manchester United this summer.
De Jong reported for pre-season duties with Barcelona on Monday with his future still looking uncertain. Barcelona president Joan Laporta publicly repeated the former Ajax playmaker was not for sale, but the club’s financial woes means the club have been open to a sale.
United transfer chiefs Richard Arnold and John Murtough are said to have jetted into the Catalan capital to finalise terms on a deal. Local TV station TV3 claim that after lengthy negotiations, a total package in the region of £72million has been agreed.
Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo has now outlined the latest stages of the De Jong transfer saga, detailing a phone call between the pair earlier this summer – and the midfielder’s recent meeting with Xavi, director of football Mateu Alemany and Jordi Cruyff. Despite being assured he was a ‘fundamental footballer’ in their plans, the 25-year-old was told of the financial pressures which are pushing Barcelona to sell.
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The expected departure of De Jong is said to free up significant space on the club’s wage bill. The playmaker was told should he wish to stay, a ‘significant salary cut’ would be on the cards and this proposal was rejected by the player and his agent.
Xavi had previously outlined the situation in a phone conversation with De Jong at the end of last season. The Barcelona boss has publicly admitted that while he would be keen to keep the midfielder, the decision could be taken out of his hands due to the club’s financial woes.
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However, De Jong is said to have stressed both publicly and privately his intention to remain at Barcelona. United’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League has concerned the midfielder, although he is said to hold no interest in a move to Chelsea despite their late interest.
The report goes on to outline that Manchester City star Bernardo Silva would be considered the ‘dream replacement’ for De Jong at Barcelona. However, any deal for the Portugal international currently looks to be out of the club’s reach at this stage.
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