BarcelonaOnce again, Barça are, against the clock, trying to succeed fair play which allows the Barça institution to register the signings it plans to make this summer. If in the market last summer the feat was achieved thanks to the salary reductions of the captains and the winter with the renewal of Umtiti’s contract, this time the economic space will have to come from the departure of footballers . In that sense, the player who is all set to be the first sale (and probably the only big one) is Dutchman Frenkie de Jong.
In the Barça offices there is a kind of déjà vu. Although they are no longer the same leaders, they want to sell a player who does not want to leave, although he is not the only one who is caught in the locker room chairs not to leave (and not to stop receiving a good salary) . As was the case with Brazilian Arthur Melo, who had to leave through the back door with Bartomeu two years ago, Frenkie de Jong does not want to leave Barça either, but the club must sell him. Were it not for the tightening of the salary cap, the Dutchman would possibly have stayed in Barcelona, despite not being the ideal profile for Xavi Hernández in the middle of the field.
Barça want to transfer the player because he has a market, is young and has not met expectations after the club paid 75 million and 11 variables for him. The Dutchman who amazed and surprised the whole of Europe with an Ajax full of young people and with coach Erik ten Hag at the helm has not finished landing in Barcelona, although in some matches there have been some sparks of his potential. Arthur Melo did not cost as much money (31 million euros and 9 in variables), but it was a case similar to that of Frenkie: he did not convince.
Arthur had been called to be Xavi’s heir in the middle of the Barça field in a process of renewal. The Brazilian player had all the qualities of the so-called Barça DNA, despite arriving in European lands being a complete stranger, but with a Copa Libertadores under his arm conducting the orchestra of the Grêmio de Porto Alegre. In his first season as a coach, Melo played a total of 43 games in 2,391 minutes of play, but never established himself as an undisputed starter in the schemes of Ernesto Valverde. The second year, and mainly because of injuries, he only played 28 games. Despite the dismissal of Valverde in January and the arrival of Quique Setién on the bench, he did not show the game that everyone was looking for and ended the season without playing, amid injuries and decisions of the Cantabrian coach, who came to point it out publicly.
After the club showed him the way out to square the accounts, Arthur ended up agreeing to go to Juventus for 72 million euros plus 10 million in variables. In his place came Miralem Pjanic, a player older than Arthur and with a higher salary, but with more experience on the pitch. The Barça club paid the Bosnian 60 million plus 5 in variables. This trading card exchange became an accounting operation for economic reasons and not sports, as it allowed Bartomeu’s board to close the 2019/2020 season in a positive way. With De Jong, the main motive for the operation is to generate a salary cap. The numbers at the close 21/22 will be fixed with the television lever.
Now, Arthur is trying to put Juventus wherever he is, after two seasons at the Italian club as disappointing as Barcelona. Arsenal have been chasing him for a long time and in the winter market they tried to take him on loan, but in the end the operation did not bear fruit. Juve have even offered it as a currency to other teams, as was their arrival in Turin in the operation with Pjanic.
Erik ten Hag, De Jong’s defender
The fact that De Jong is considering leaving the club, although United will not play in the Champions League next season, is due to English team coach Erik ten Hag. The Dutch coach has signed for Manchester this summer in an attempt to return the historic English club to the top level, after many disappointing seasons in which he has not even been able to enter the top European club competition. Ten Hag was the one who brought De Jong to the stage when they were both in Ajax. He brought to light his full potential, and now, on English soil, he could do it again.