FC Barcelona top 5 most expensive signings
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Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has struck out at the club’s hierarchy for their handling of his well-publicised summer transfer saga. The Dutchman was the subject of significant interest from Manchester United but he ended up staying at the Nou Camp, where he hopes to remain for the next 10 years of his career.
One of Erik ten Hag’s first actions as Man Utd boss was to make De Jong his top transfer target, having previously worked with the midfielder at Ajax. A lengthy chase ensued, during which a £72million fee was supposedly agreed, but De Jong made it clear that he wanted to stay in Catalonia.
Barca chiefs publicly applied pressure on the 25-year-old to reduce his salary due to the club’s financial difficulties, despite a summer of frivolous transfer spending. De Jong eventually stood firm to snub United, and he recently suggested that he holds a grudge against some of those involved in his summer saga.
“One day a paper published details from my contract,” he told De Telegraaf. “I didn’t leak it and only one other party knew about this, so it had to be the club who did this. Suddenly there was a letter in which the question was asked whether my contract was still valid, because the previous president made the contract.
“I found it very annoying that the club did this, but I had no further influence on things. I blame these people but I have nothing to do with them. Yes, they are Barca for me because they lead the club. But I don’t see them when I’m at the club. I have nothing to do with them in my daily life.
“[Xavi] left the possibility of my departure open as he never came out and said: ‘Frenkie is staying no matter the financial situation’, but I really don’t put the blame on Xavi. I never got the feeling that Xavi was against me. To the media he said that he was happy with me but that there’s also the financial part of the club.
“I think it was difficult for him to speak about this. He is not the one making these decisions. I am very happy in Barcelona. When I play it’s great and in terms of living here life is perfect. I see myself at Barcelona for as long as possible. I personally hope for another 8 or 10 years.”
De Jong’s comments may dissuade Man Utd from making another attempt to sign him in the January transfer window. As it became clear that the Dutchman was going nowhere in the summer, the Red Devils swooped for Casemiro instead and the Brazilian has been a smash hit since barging his way into Ten Hag’s starting XI.
Barcelona, meanwhile, go into the World Cup break with a healthy two-point advantage over Real Madrid at the top of the league table. De Jong has performed well after settling for cameos off the bench earlier in the campaign, with two goals and one assist in La Liga.
The midfielder will soon be in action at the World Cup as the Netherlands take on Senegal on Monday afternoon. If the group stages pan out a certain way, De Jong and manager Louis van Gaal could be on a collision course bound for a Round of 16 tie with England.
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