Frenkie de Jong has broken his silence on the Manchester United transfer saga that has dominated the summer when he appeared to confirm Barcelona wanted him to leave against his will.
The Dutch star was the number one target of Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag and a £63million fee had been agreed with the Spanish club to bring him to Old Trafford.
However, agreeing personal terms proved too difficult as the 25-year-old was determined to remain at the LaLiga giants.
Barcelona were keen to benefit from De Jong as they tried to ease their perilous financial situation. United were ready to pay around £65m to secure the Dutchman’s signature, a figure Barca hierarchy were keen to embrace.
But despite the club bringing him a handsome salary, de Jong has remained steadfast and has now dealt with the situation while on media duty for the Netherlands’ upcoming clashes with Poland and Belgium in the Nations League.
It was widely known that De Jong wanted to stay and Barca had hoped to sell him to raise much-needed funds. The Spanish club’s treatment of the player drew widespread criticism and reportedly drew the attention of world trade union Fifpro.
Speaking at a news conference on Friday, De Jong said: “Interest from Chelsea and Man United? I already decided in May that I want to stay at Barcelona. I never changed that decision over the summer.
He later added that he and Barcelona sometimes disagreed over the summer where he would play football this season.
“I can’t give too many details,” he said. ‘But look… the club has its own ideas and I have my own ideas too and sometimes they contradict each other. But at the end of the day everything went well.’
United spent most of the summer chasing De Jong – although it was widely seen as a dead giveaway.
De Jong, who joined Barca for £65m in January 2019, has never indicated he wants to join United. As the weeks wore on, it became clear that Ten Hag, keen on a reunion with a player who was the focus of his Ajax side, had to find alternative options.
United eventually signed Christian Eriksen on a free transfer and, after giving up the pursuit of De Jong, spent £70m to bring in Casemiro from Real Madrid.
Both players were quick hits at Old Trafford and after a disappointing start to the season United have now won four Premier League games.