Frenkie de Jong has been spotted apparently on his way to London as Chelsea and Manchester United battle to secure his signing. The Barcelona star has struggled for game time in La Liga this season. And his trip to Europe is sure to spark rumours about which club he may be potentially be joining.
De Jong has started just one of Barcelona’s three La Liga matches so far this season and was left on the bench for Sunday’s emphatic 4-0 win over Real Valladolid. And, now, El Chirinquito have obtained footage of the 25-year-old jetting away from Catalonia with his fiancee, Mikky Kiemeney, alongside him.
They stated on Twitter: “BOMB NEWS! FRENKIE DE JONG, address LONDON.” Reporters are heard asking: “Are you staying at Barcelona, Frenkie? Is there contact from Chelsea?
“The supporters want to know if you’re staying. You’re going to London, is that for Chelsea? Is there any contact from United?” De Jong, however, refuses to answer any questions as he makes his way into the terminal.
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United agreed a huge £72million deal to sign De Jong earlier in the summer and have spent three months working on a transfer.
But Chelsea have emerged as stronger suitors in recent times, with Thomas Tuchel eager to revamp his midfield as he looks to win the Premier League title.
United have since signed Casemiro, as well as proceeding to fork out a massive £84m on Antony – who is poised to join from Ajax.
Chelsea are able to offer the 25-year-old Champions League football, something their Premier League rivals can’t following their sixth-placed finish under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last term.
And the fact De Jong is on his way to London, rather than Manchester, suggests he may be about to make a blockbuster move to Stamford Bridge.
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Until now, De Jong has made it clear he wants to stay at Barcelona.
He signed for the Catalan giants back in the summer transfer window of 2019, after shining for Ajax as they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League that year.
De Jong is currently below the likes of Pedri, Gavi and Sergio Busquets when it comes to Barcelona’s pecking order, however.
And the La Liga side have been trying to get him off the books all summer long so they can balance their finances.
Barcelona owe the player around £14m in deferred wages and have been attempting to get the Netherlands international to accept a pay cut, something he’s been unwilling to do.
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So where he ends up going, or whether he ends up leaving Barcelona at all, remains to be seen – with some suggesting on social media he’s merely jetting off for a couple of days’ rest.
ESPN writer Samuel Marsden said: “Barca players have a couple of days off. De Jong going to London is NOT transfer related. Still most likely scenario is FDJ stays at Barca. Salary adjustment still not an option.”
Former United star Gary Neville, meanwhile, recently opened up on De Jong and admitted it would be a hammer blow if the 25-year-old ended up joining Chelsea, instead of his old side.
“There’s a lot on that De Jong deal,” said Neville.
“Just generally. Not just for the team but for the club, the new operation, so they can get a deal over the line.
“There are three scenarios.
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“One is that they get him, they look smart, they look patient, they look like they’ve bided their time and got the deal that they wanted.
“Or, he stays at Barcelona. Which I think could be slightly embarrassing given the relationship the manager’s got with the player.
“Or the horrific outcome is that, he doesn’t just leave Barcelona, he goes to Chelsea – a competitor in the Premier League.
“That wouldn’t be a good outcome for United’s recruitment department. I think that would cause problems in the next few weeks.
“At the moment, it might be in two or three weeks Ronaldo settles down, says he’s staying, the football they’ve played in pre-season has been great, they might get De Jong over the line, all of a sudden you’re thinking: oh wow, it could be United.”