Football

Barcelona make new Frenkie de Jong plan

Manchester United FC have agreed terms with Barcelona FC for Frenkie de Jong.

The future of midfielder Frenkie de Jong at Barcelona is being influenced by the transfer decision of striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang amid an approach from Chelsea.

The Blues are upping the ante to sign Aubameyang in the closing weeks of the transfer window in a move that could also influence the future of Manchester City ace Bernardo Silva, who is high on Barca’s wishlist – as confirmed by president Joan Laporta.

De Jong is wanted by both Manchester United and Chelsea – the former of whom have already agreed a transfer fee with the player, but no final agreement on a deal is in place. United boss Erik ten Hag recently instructed United to remain patient on a deal while the Dutch international has been the subject of a fresh approach from United.

Blues chiefs have made contact with Barca and held discussions with De Jong’s representatives and are now strong contenders to sign him from under United’s noses. Unlike United, Chelsea can offer the player Champions League football and the opportunity to live in London – which is thought to appeal.

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Yet Chelsea are more confident in their attempts of De Jong’s Barca teammate Aubameyang, who is no longer a guaranteed starter at Camp Nou following the summer signing of Robert Lewandowski. Aubameyang’s wage has also increased this season as part of his contractual agreement with the club, giving Barca the impetus to move him on as a non-guaranteed starter.

Eugenio Botas, an intermediary who is working on behalf of Chelsea in their attempts to sign Aubameyang, has been in Barcelona all week and he has been spotted several times alongside Barca’s Director of Football, Mateu Alemany, and with Jordi Cruyff, the Barça sports director. The details of these talks have been outlined by Mundo Deportivo.

Barca have still not registered new signing Jules Kounde with La Liga due to their financial constraints, with the only options for the club now to move players on from their wage bill. They still also will need enough wriggle room to accommodate Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso, whom they have an agreement in principle to sign.

Yet the theoretical exit of Aubameyang, alongside the anticipated departure of Memphis Depay – who has been in talks with Juventus – and the possibility of selling right-back Sergino Dest, may mean that De Jong stays at the club after all on his current terms, which would see Barca’s move for City star Silva also collapse.

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This financial situation has also opened the door for Chelsea to land Aubameyang, in a sensational move that would come a little over six months after he moved to the Camp Nou from Arsenal. This year’s arrivals of Lewandowski, Ferran Torres and Raphinha have ramped up competition for attacking players.

Aubameyang is close to Blues boss Thomas Tuchel after their time together at Borussia Dortmund and the two may be reunited at Stamford Bridge this summer as Chelsea look to replace Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner. Blues wing-back Alonso is set to join Barca following Marc Cucurella’s arrival at Stamford Bridge pushing him further down the pecking order on the left-side of the defence.

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