Frenkie de Jong breaks silence on Man United-Chelsea transfer saga: ‘I’ve always wanted to stay at Barcelona’

The versatile Dutch midfielder was quickly established as Erik ten Hag’s priority target for his first spell in charge at Old Trafford, with United reportedly already agreeing a deal with Barca in June in what appears to be a fee of around €65m (£56.8m). at the beginning, more than 15 million euros can be paid as add-ons.

But such a high-profile move failed to materialize despite De Jong being on the wage bill at the Camp Nou, where he was said to have been delayed by around £17m during the Covid-19 pandemic and reportedly given an ultimatum. take a significant pay cut or leave.

Chelsea also emerged as contenders to land the 25-year-old during their new ownership at Boehly-Clearlake, with former manager Thomas Tuchel looking to bolster his midfield with both N’Golo Kante and Jorginho at the end of their contracts. from this season.

Speculation over De Jong’s future continued until the summer deadline, although in the end he stayed at Barca and apparently accepted a pay cut, having originally signed a massive two-year extension in October 2020 that will keep him under contract in Catalonia until 2026.

Frenkie de Jong will remain a Barcelona player despite huge interest from Manchester United and Chelsea

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And while the former Ajax favorite admits there have been clear differences with Barca, he insists he never wanted to walk away from Xavi’s side.

“I always wanted to stay at Barcelona this summer and that’s why I always stayed calm in the summer. I can’t reveal too many details,” De Jong told reporters at a press conference in Warsaw on Thursday night ahead of Holland’s Nations League clash with Poland.

“But look, the club has its ideas and I have my ideas, and sometimes they collide. But at the end of the day, everything worked out.”

Despite that ugly summer episode, De Jong has remained a key member of Barca’s first team, featuring eight times in all competitions this season and scoring in the 4-0 LaLiga rout of Cadiz earlier this month.

Unable to acquire his services, United ended up paying £70m to sign Casemiro from Real Madrid, while Chelsea left Juventus midfielder Denis Zakaria on loan late on deadline day.