Frenkie de Jong is not ignorant to the noise surrounding his future. But his priority is to start with preseason with Barcelona and get back to work under Xavi Hernandez.
Dejong will arrive back in the city this weekend. He is due back in for medical tests on Monday along with the other players who were on international duty at the start of the summer.
The Dutch midfielder does not know for sure how the saga will end. But he is clear that he Manchester United is not high up his ist of options. There are plenty of reasons why he is likely to say ‘no’ to a move to Old Trafford:
1- He has bought a house in Pedralbes
De Jong just bought a new property in Barcelona, a house in Pedralbes. It’s in one of the most sought-after areas of the city. The player made an investment of such magnitude because he is convinced he has many years ahead of him in Barcelona playing for Barça.
2- His partner, Mikky Kiemeney, loves Barcelona and has strong links in the city
De Jong’s partner, Mikky Kiemeney, is very happy in Barcelona. She loves it here and has adapted quickly to the city. She doesn’t see herself leaving now. De Jong and Mikky are extremely happy where they are. They have strong links in the city already and many friends. They also like to visit other parts of Catalonia when they can. The couple recently got engaged.
3- His dream club is Barça, not United
Frenkie De Jong, like many Dutch players, always dreamed of playing for Barça. Since he was a kid. Wearing the shirt worn by Johan Cruyff and other greats from his homeland. In contrast, he never imagined playing for United, as big as the English club are.
4- No Champions League
If he went to Manchester United, he would not take part in the Champions League. That’s a big factor for one of the best midfielders in the world. He needs to be among the best — and the best are in the Champions League.
5- United are jinxed
De Jong respects United as an historic club but also has the feeling they have been jinxed in recent years. Despite the money invested in players and coaches, they are struggling to make it back to the top of English football, let alone European football, where they spent two decades under Sir Alex Ferguson.
6- The Manchester weather
De Jong and his partner are loving life in Barcelona and in part that is because of the climate and a pleasant temperature all year round. In Manchester, there is less sun and more rain. The climate is a factor in his decision. Also the fact that Manchester isn’t as attractive a city as Barcelona.
7- Convinced he can deliver for Xavi
At Ajax, De Jong played in a very clear way. He had freedom to move around and drive forward from the back with the ball at his feet. He knew he had protection behind him. Xavi doesn’t want him to have that much freedom but wants him to be more static at times and play more positionally. For Xavi, it’s important that all the players, especially the midfielders, have a specific role and movements on the pitch. De Jong is convinced he can adapt to what Xavi wants. The two have had many conversations to this effect.
8- Barça salary
De Jong has a good wage at Barça. Therefore it’s difficult for other clubs to match it. He joined in 2019 earning 14 million gross annually. But there was a reduction of 12% during Covid-19 down to 12.32 million. De Jong also gave up a large amount during that period on the basis he would be paid it later. In 2019/20, he was paid 3 million and in 2020/21 9 million. A long way from the 14 million he agreed. For that reason, this coming season he is owed 18 million as Barça begin to pay him back. He is also owed loyalty bonuses.
9- Doesn’t like the campaign for him to leave
The player has the feeling a campaign has been created for him to leave Barça. And he doesn’t like the ‘mobbing’ that’s pushing him towards the English league. And what most hurts is that no one from Barcelona has personally has told him anything about having to leave. Neither the board nor the recruitment team.
10- Contacts between Barça and United
De Jong also regrets the movement behind his back. The contacts between Barcelona and United, the pressure from Ten Hag, who wants him at all costs… Therefore if the English club phone he will answer. But his camp didn’t negotiate anything with the Red Devils.
These are the reasons De Jong has practically ruled out joining United if he is pushed out of Barça. The Chelsea interest is different. Life in London, Champions League football, a squad with great players, young players and a top coach.