If Frenkie de Jong decides to leave Barcelona in January, sources have told ESPN that Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United are prepared to take the lead in the recruitment of the midfielder.
Despite Barcelona’s willingness to let De Jong depart Camp Nou in the summer, it’s believed that Chelsea has received encouragement that the player may be willing to reassess his options.
After months of negotiations, United had reached an agreement on a contract worth an initial €65 million, which would have increased to almost €85 million with add-ons, until Chelsea got in touch toward the end of the transfer window as De Jong dragged his feet on an Old Trafford move. However, despite intense pressure from Barcelona to have him leave in order to balance the books and adhere to LaLiga’s salary ceiling, the Netherlands international chose to remain in Spain.
De Jong has only started five games across all competitions this season, and Barcelona may not go past the group round of the Champions League, two facts that have given his Premier League pursuers hope that a trade may be reached in January.
Following hamstring surgery this week, N’Golo Kante, a France international, will be unavailable from Chelsea for four months. At the end of the current campaign, Kante’s contract expires, while Jorginho has not yet reached an extension agreement. Sources have told ESPN that Chelsea co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali have an excellent working relationship with HCM Sports Management, who represents De Jong among their clients, and are following a policy of recruiting younger players to long contracts.
United is still interested, but they would need to make financial adjustments after spending almost €240 million during the summer transfer window. According to insiders, Liverpool is also looking for a central midfielder and has gotten in touch with De Jong’s agents.
Manchester United is looking to engage a recruitment analyst to aid the team in acquiring the top goalkeepers in the world. The position will concentrate on locating goalkeepers to join the first-team roster and is a part of the technical chief scout team’s expansion at Old Trafford.
The No. 1 goalkeeper for United is David de Gea, but boss Ten Hag said the team would hold off on extending the 31-year-contract. old’s The international player from Spain has a contract that runs through the end of the current campaign, but United has the option to extend it until the summer of 2024.
In the meanwhile, backup Martin Dubravka was hired on a season-long loan from Newcastle in the summer. Dean Henderson, an England goalkeeper, who is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest, is under contract with United until at least 2025.
According to insiders who spoke with ESPN, Barcelona is preparing for the upcoming season without its four leaders, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, and Sergi Roberto.
While Pique and Alba both have contracts through 2024, Busquets and Roberto’s contracts expire next summer.
Although Busquets continues to be a constant in midfield, Pique and Alba have both lost their positions in the team this season under former comrade Xavi Hernandez. Due to injuries, Roberto, who renewed his contract for another year in June, has played right back frequently. Busquets, 34, is allegedly considering offers from Major League Soccer and will decide on his future sometime after the World Cup.
Roberto, the 30-year-old youngest member of the group, is versatile, and Xavi appreciates that, but the Catalan club would like to strengthen there and in midfield, if not in January then next summer.
Pique, who will turn 36 in January, and Alba, who is 33, is in a more difficult scenario because they both have contracts that expire in 18 months and are owed a sizable sum in deferred earnings in addition to their hefty salary. To get rid of the pair, Barca will need to find organizations prepared to pay their salary or work out an early contract termination with the players.