Manchester United have suffered a further blow in their attempts to prise Frenkie de Jong away from Barcelona this summer.
Erik ten Hag has made the Netherlands international his top transfer target this summer and is keen to rebuild United’s midfield with de Jong playing a central role in that process.
The former Ajax star is said to be open to reuniting with his former manager in Manchester. United have so far refused to meet Barcelona’s asking price – said to be worth around £51million.
Reports in Spain have suggested Barcelona are looking for a deal worth £80million with the club still under pressure after years of financial mismanagement. De Jong, who joined the club for £75million in 2019, has been identified as the prized asset Xavi is most willing to part with.
Xavi has previously admitted the club’s financial situation would dictate their summer business with cashed raised through de Jong’s sale to be used to fund incoming deals – with Robert Lewandowski top of the manager’s list.
However, over the last 24 hours the club has received a major boost in improving that situation after the board approved two measures that will provide the club with a huge cash injection.
Barcelona’s members have voted in favour of the sale of future merchandising and television rights.
The successful vote gives club president Joan Laporta and his directors the green light to sell 49.9% of the club’s Barca Licensing and Merchandising (BLM) subsidiary and 25% of its La Liga television rights revenues over the coming years. Both were passed by huge majorities — 88% for BLM and 84% for TV revenues.
Reports suggest the moves could bring in close to £600million which will be used to offset the club’s debt – which stands at over £1billion – and improve the playing squad this summer.
Barcelona are still under pressure and have financial deadlines to hit in the coming weeks with their financial year ending on 30 July.
But there is now less urgency to raise huge sums before that deadline.
De Jong recently opened the door to a potential move to the Premier League, welcoming United’s interest despite insisting he is happy to remain at Barca.
Speaking after an excellent display in his nation’s dramatic win over Wales on Tuesday night in Rotterdam, De Jong said of United’s approach: ‘You’re always flattered when teams show interest in you as a player.
‘But, as you say, I am at the biggest club in the world at the moment and I feel fine there, so no news.’