Manchester United could push through a transfer for Frenkie de Jong by themselves contributing to the repayment of deferred wages owed to the player by Barcelona, sources have indicated to 90min.
De Jong has long been established as United’s number one transfer target this summer, and while they have agreed a fee of an overall €85m with his club for the transfer, the Dutchman is still owed as much as £17m in earnings after taking a pay cut during the pandemic to help Barcelona’s financial position.
The transfer has stalled for a number of weeks since the agreement between the clubs was reached, with a resolution needed to the wages situation before the 25-year-old considers a move. Barcelona have yet to indicate they will pay the money back to the player and have instead attempted to convince him to take a further pay cut to help correct their wage bill.
This is despite Barcelona's lavish summer spending on players such as Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha. Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie have also arrived on free transfers so far this summer - but as it stands they are all not registered with La Liga to start next season, and the possible sale of De Jong would help that process.
United’s position to date has been that they would not pay more to force the transfer through, though fresh interest from Premier League rivals Chelsea in De Jong may have altered their outlook.
It's understood that United could help make up the shortfall by increasing the wages they offer to De Jong. Recent reports elsewhere suggest his weekly earnings could reach as high as £450,000-a-week, which would make him among United's highest earners if it becomes the case.
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Chelsea do hold interest in the player but are targeting signings in a number of other positions - Denzel Dumfries and Wesley Fofana among them - and it is not certain whether Chelsea will agree to paying either the club’s valuation of the player, nor match the wage demands the player would bring with him.
Chelsea's interest, though not as advanced as United's, could help Barcelona force United's hand in a stalemate that has dragged out for several weeks.
Barça are also still talking to Chelsea about the signings of Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta and there is a belief they would be happy to see those two included in a possible deal for De Jong - but it remains to be seen if the west London club themselves see that as an option going forward.