FC Barcelona have issued an ultimatum to Frenkie de Jong over his potential exit from the club. The Dutchman joined the Catalans in 2019 as part of a €75mn ($77mn) transfer from Ajax but has found himself up for sale given the emergence of young stars such as Pedri and Gavi in midfield plus financial problems at Camp Nou. Barca are currently in debts of around $1.5bn, and also need to navigate Financial Fair Play regulations and La Liga’s strict salary cap while looking to register new signings such as Raphinha, Robert Lewandoswki and Jules Kounde. Yet while De Jong’s transfer saga has been ongoing since May, SPORT report that it might be solved before the end of next week. This is because the Blaugrana are pressuring the 25-year-old into making an imminent decision on his future. Put simply, he must lower his salary to fall in line with president Joan Laporta’s policy of no first team player earning more than €10mn ($10.3mn) a year, or negotiate an exit with the clubs that are interested in him. These are namely Manchester United and Chelsea. While the former agreed a €85mn ($87mn) deal with Barca for De Jong’s transfer some time ago, the playmaker has turned the Mancunians down due to their lack of Champions League football. Chelsea threw their hat into the ring this week, and have been granted permission by Barca to negotiate directly with De Jong. Not wanting to be embarrassed like United, the west Londoners would rather try and persuade De Jong to switch allegiances first and then make a formal offer to his current employers. Facing a race against time to register new players with the La Liga season starting in eight days, Barca want De Jong’s fate defined immediately. While De Jong is happy in Barcelona and wants to be part of Xavi Hernandez’s sporting project, SPORT say that his camp do not want him to lose out on a huge amount of money that he agreed to earn next season under Laporta’s predecessor Josep Bartomeu. Even so, the footballer and his corner have been listening to Chelsea and United, but talks have failed to advance thus far. As a consequence, De Jong will be presented as a member of the FC Barcelona first team in the Joan Gamper Trophy on Sunday.
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