Barcelona bosses privately admit they were ‘LUCKY’ to keep Frenkie de Jong last summer after his £65m Man United move fell through, with Dutchman proving himself key to club’s title charge under Xavi
- Frenkie de Jong was one of Erik ten Hag’s primary transfer targets last summer
- But the Dutchman wanted to stay at Barcelona and deal could not be done
- Bosses at Catalan club are now feeling ‘lucky’ midfielder stayed with them
Barcelona’s hierarchy have privately expressed relief at the fact that they didn’t lose Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United last summer.
In a protracted transfer saga, Erik ten Hag pushed hard to recruit his former Ajax man to Old Trafford and the Catalan side were willing to let him leave to free up funds.
But De Jong stood firm and has since gone on to be a key player for Xavi, with Barcelona leading LaLiga ahead of Real Madrid by nine points.
According to Mundo Deportivo, club chiefs admitted: ‘It was lucky we didn’t sell him’, admitting it would have been a mistake.
They reported a source saying: ‘He understands better and better what is being asked of him and the coach values him a lot.
Frenkie de Jong (left) has been a key man for Barcelona and they are on course for the title
Xavi has been delighted with the Dutchman, who wanted to stay at the club in the summer
In the end, it was a row over unpaid wages that led De Jong to dig his heels in.
Man United were keen on a deal worth around £65million deal to bring him in but the Dutchman and his team wanted a reported £11m in deferred wages still owed to him before he would agree to the move.
De Jong agreed to defer a chunk of his pay packet during the pandemic like many of Barcelona’s stars but was yet to be paid back.
The actual total was said to be £17m owed and Barcelona wanted him to agree to take just £6m.
‘De Jong should consider legal action versus Barcelona and all players should be behind him!’ Gary Neville wrote at the time.
The 25-year-old was also keen to prove himself at the Nou Camp and was reluctant to up sticks and relocate.
But De Jong has been crucial to Barcelona’s revival this term. They are leading Real Madrid in their Copa del Rey clash at the halfway stage and look on course to lift the title.
The satisfaction with De Jong’s performances from Xavi and club chiefs could be a blow to United, who may retain interest in the player.
United are likely to look to strengthen midfield again this summer and will be battling to cover the absence of Casemiro in the coming weeks.
The Brazilian was sent off against Southampton at the weekend and must now serve a four-match ban.
Club president Joan Laporta will be pleased with the way De Jong is performing