Frenkie de Jong was apparently spotted traveling to London as Chelsea and Manchester United battle for his signature. The Barcelona star has struggled for time in La Liga this season. And his trip to Europe is sure to spark rumors about which club he could potentially join.
De Jong has started just one of Barcelona’s three La Liga appearances so far this season and was left on the bench for Sunday’s emphatic 4-0 win over Real Valladolid. And, now El Chirinquito has obtained footage of the 25-year-old leaving Catalonia with his fiancée, Mikky Kiemeney, by his side.
They stated on Twitter: “NEWS BOMB! FRENKIE DE JONG, address LONDON. Reporters are heard asking: “Are you staying in Barcelona, Frenkie? Is there a Chelsea contact?
“The supporters want to know if you are staying. You’re going to London, is it for Chelsea? Is there a contact from United?” De Jong, however, refuses to answer questions as he walks towards the terminal.
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United agreed a whopping £72million deal to sign De Jong earlier this summer and spent three months working on a transfer.
But Chelsea have become stronger contenders of late, with Thomas Tuchel keen to revamp their midfield as they seek to win the Premier League title.
United have since signed Casemiro, while paying £84m for Antony – who is set to join Ajax.
Chelsea are able to offer 25-year-old Champions League football which their Premier League rivals cannot after finishing sixth under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last season.
And the fact that De Jong is on his way to London, rather than Manchester, suggests he may be on the verge of a blockbuster move to Stamford Bridge.
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So far, De Jong has made it clear that he wants to stay at Barcelona.
He signed for the Catalan giants in the 2019 summer transfer window, having shone for Ajax as they reached the Champions League semi-finals that year.
However, De Jong is currently below Pedri, Gavi and Sergio Busquets when it comes to Barcelona’s pecking order.
And the La Liga side have been trying to get him off the books all summer so they can balance their finances.
Barcelona owe the player around £14million in deferred pay and have tried to get the Netherlands international to accept a pay cut, something he has been unwilling to do.
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So where he will end up going, or if he will end up leaving Barcelona, remains to be seen – with some suggesting on social media that he is just flying away for a few days off.
ESPN writer Samuel Marsden said: “Barca players have a few days off. De Jong going to London is NOT transfer related. The most likely scenario is that the FDJ stays at Barca. The adjustment salary is 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 ends up joining Chelsea, instead of his former side.
“There’s a lot about this De Jong deal,” Neville said.
“Just in general. Not just for the team but for the club, the new operation, so they can get a deal down the line.
“There are three scenarios.
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“The first is that they got it, they look smart, they look patient, they look like they bided their time and got the deal they wanted.
“Or else he stays at Barcelona. Which I think might be slightly embarrassing given the relationship the manager has with the player.
“Or the horrible outcome is that he doesn’t just leave Barcelona, he goes to Chelsea – a Premier League competitor.
“It wouldn’t be a good result for United’s recruitment department. I think that would cause problems in the next few weeks.
“At the moment it could be two or three weeks from Ronaldo settling in, says he’s staying, the football they’ve played in pre-season has been great, they could get De Jong down the line, all of a sudden you’ I think: oh wow, that could be United.
Frenkie de Jong spotted ‘flying to London’ amid Chelsea and Man Utd links