Chelsea close in as Barcelona continue Frenkie de Jong tussle

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According to The Times, Chelsea and Barcelona are currently negotiating over a potential transfer of Frenkie de Jong. An agreement is apparently close, but the situation is so complicated that it remains anyone’s guess how it will pan out in the end.

Barcelona had reportedly agreed to sell De Jong to Manchester United earlier this summer, but the Dutch midfielder refused to reunite with former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford. It was said that their lack of Champions League football for the 2022/23 season was the main reason, as well as a perceived lack of stability at the club at the moment.

Chelsea have since stepped in and are believed to be close to agreeing a figure with Barcelona and they, unlike United, will be playing in the Champions League this term, but De Jong still has reasons to stay put. Barcelona are believed to owe him around £17 million in deferred wages and he isn’t showing any willingness to give that money up, so he’s refusing to budge until the debt is settled.

The Catalan club have, however, decided to fight back. They’ve contacted De Jong’s representatives to inform them that they consider the current contract, which the player signed in 2020, to be illegal, and they intend to put him back on the terms defined in his initial deal, signed upon his arrival from Ajax in 2019. On the other hand, Josep Maria Bartomeu, who was in charge of the club in 2020, says such claims are baseless and points to the fact that the deal was inspected and approved by the club’s auditors, as well as La Liga.

To sum up, Chelsea may well reach an agreement with Barcelona, but that won’t mean the move will happen; not unless there’s movement on the matter still lying between the five-time European champions and the 25-year-old Netherlands international.