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26th Jul 2022

Barcelona accused of ‘extorting’ Frenkie de Jong after Manchester United bid

Daniel Brown

‘I think a union should protect all players. Now a player is cornered by a club and chased away’

The chairman of the Dutch players’ union has accused Barcelona of ‘exploiting’ Frenkie de Jong following Manchester United’s approach for the midfielder.

United have reportedly agreed a £63million deal to sign the Dutchman, but he is refusing to leave the Camp Nou until the LaLiga club reimburse him for £17m in deferred wages.

Although De Jong is the Red Devils’ priority transfer target this summer, the Barcelona man has shown little interest in a move to Old Trafford and has publicly declared his preference to stay in Spain.

Although Xavi is thought to be an admirer of the former Ajax man, he is also keen on signing Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, and knows that he needs to raise additional funds if the club are to match Chelsea’s £55m offer for the Frenchman.

The Catalan giants have already added Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christsensen and Franck Kessié to their ranks this summer.

Chairman of the Dutch players’ union slams Barcelona

However, Evgeniy Levchenko has criticised Barcelona’s conduct during their negotiations with De Jong, suggesting that the club could ‘extort’ the 25-year-old by refusing to play him if he insists on staying at Camp Nou.

“I think a union should protect all players. Now a player is cornered by a club and chased away. It is up to an international union [FIFPro] to stand up,” Levchenko told ANP.

“If Barcelona continue to pay his salary, there is nothing contractually wrong either,” he added.

“Barcelona will then invoke sporting grounds, but it is disastrous for the career of a young player. That makes it a kind of extortion.”

Levchenko doesn’t believe De Jong should take pay cut

When asked if he think De Jong should accept a pay cut in order to remain at Barcelona, Levchenko replied: “I would say, ‘no’.

“Barcelona have complete responsibility. The club’s long-term policy is dramatic. It is crazy when players have to pay for the financial mess.

“He just feels at home there and understands the culture, so I understand too that he doesn’t want to leave.”

De Jong has made 140 appearances for Barcelona since signing for the club from Ajax in 2019, registering 13 goals and 17 assists.

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