SOCCER

Frenkie de Jong and Barcelona’s bizarre treatment of the midfielder

ADVERTISEMENT

The stalemate continues. Barcelona want Frenkie de Jong to leave to free up budget to complete the signings of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessié, Andreas Christensen and Jules Koundé, none of whom are officially registered yet, and possibly to make it possible to sign Caesar Azpilicueta. But the 25-year-old Dutch international is refusing to leave for a number of reasons, chief among them the fact that the club still owes him 17 million euros ($17.2 million) in deferred wages.

ADVERTISEMENT

None of this, of course, makes sense. When de Jong joined Barcelona from Ajax in 2019, he was hailed as the club’s future and explained how playing for the club had been a dream. He seemed like the perfect person around which to hang a back-to-basics approach. He was a technically gifted midfielder – perhaps a halfway house between Xavi, who is now a manager, and Sergio Busquets – who had succeeded at Ajax; he had the perfect lineage to bring Barça back to what it was, a club based on a Total Footballing philosophy.

ADVERTISEMENT