Spain-based journalist Graham Hunter joined The Football Show to discuss Frenkie De Jong and Barcelona.
Frenkie De Jong has replaced Jadon Sancho as Manchester United's infatuation in the transfer market.
De Jong is the solution to all of Manchester United's problems. He's their guy. Their main target. And for long periods, seemingly their only target when it comes to central midfielders. United have a recent track record of spending too much time on one player.
Although they eventually got Jadon Sancho, the dragged-out transfer saga likely hurt them with other players.
It looks unlikely that Erik ten Hag's side will get De Jong. But even if they do, Graham Hunter explains that he has been something of a disappointment for Barcelona. And that explains why they're not desperately trying to keep him in their squad.
"He's being paid upwards of €11 million a season net of tax," Hunter said.
"That means he's being paid in the mid-high 20s in millions in euros. Now he neither merited that when he was signed, nor on his performances [since then]. And if they tried to change his contract, he and his agent and his lawyers are 1,000% right to say 'Tough luck, no.'"
Barcelona can't get rid of De Jong without his cooperation and De Jong does not want to go to Manchester United. Chelsea have reportedly shown interest in the Dutch midfielder so maybe that will facilitate a move, but De Jong only wants to join a Champions League team.
Not only that, but he also wants to join a team that plays a certain style of football. Or rather, doesn't play a certain style of football.
"Irrespective of the nice things that Laporta and Xavi have said, they do want to move Frenkie De Jong out for various reasons. The principle of which is he hasn't been good enough. That's a simple, easily observed fact.
"In Frenkie De Jong's case, number one, he doesn't want to go to Manchester United. Not because of the financial negotiations with Barcelona but because he doesn't want to play for a team in the Europa League and he doesn't want to play for a team that would resemble the way Barcelona have played over recent seasons.
"That's a fair point.
"While Barcelona will not freeze him out and not use him, if the players that they bought are registered, there's a very high chance that he will play minimally between now and the World Cup."
De Jong is in a difficult position because of Barcelona. Manchester United put themselves in a difficult position so they have nobody to blame.
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