Barcelona chief explains Frenkie de Jong sale decision as Man Utd close on £71m transfer

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Barcelona director Mateu Alemany has seemingly confirmed why the club are looking to sell Frenkie de Jong this summer. Manchester United have agreed a £71million deal for the Netherlands midfielder, despite public claims from Barcelona figures that they want to retain his services.

The Red Devils are closing in on Erik ten Hag’s priority transfer target after completing exhaustive talks to settle on a fee. But De Jong is yet to agree personal terms over a move to Old Trafford, and it’s understood that his preference is to remain at the Nou Camp this summer.

Alemany and Barcelona president Joan Laporta faced the media after unveiling Raphinha, who has completed a £55m move from Leeds United. However, some questions in the press conference revolved around other incomings and potential outgoings, including De Jong.

When asked about the 25-year-old’s future, Alemany admitted that La Liga’s Fair Play rules are forcing Barcelona to cash in on players. He said: “Frenkie [de Jong] is a very important player. We count on him, but we know La Liga’s Fair Play tells us to sell players. I can’t say more.”

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De Jong’s future will become increasingly apparent depending on whether he boards the plane for Barcelona’s pre-season camp in the United States later this week. Xavi is said to be keen to keep him, but he has come under pressure from the club’s board to contribute to his exit.

Barcelona have reportedly agreed a deal worth around £68m with Manchester City for Bernardo Silva, widely thought to be De Jong’s replacement. So with that assurance, Xavi may exclude the Dutchman from his pre-season squad, which would all but confirm minutes are likely to be limited this season and push him to join United.

Barcelona need to balance the books in order to register their news signings, with Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie joining Raphinha in Catalonia this summer. And their business isn’t done, which is somewhat baffling to outsiders considering the financial constraints the La Liga giants are under.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski is closing in on a blockbuster move, as links to Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta and Jules Kounde continue. De Jong’s departure seems to be the gateway for Barcelona to complete their planned transfer activity, but as it stands, he’s yet to give the green light over a switch to England.

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