Supporters of the Catalan club gathered outside the club’s training ground on Thursday to shout things at De Jong as he arrived amid question marks over his future, with Manchester United and Chelsea strongly linked to the midfielder.
United have been chasing the Netherlands international throughout the summer and agreed a £73m fee last month, though De Jong has so far snubbed a move to Old Trafford despite Barcelona trying to force him out the door.
The situation is complicated, with Barcelona owing De Jong around £14m in deferred wages amid financial uncertainty at the La Liga club, a fee which they want any buying club to pick up.
United’s inability to convince De Jong or resolve the wage issue has opened the door to Chelsea in recent weeks, with the west Londoners now also close to agreeing a fee with Barca.
Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly has spoken directly with De Jong over a potential move to Stamford Bridge, though did not get the response he was hoping for.
De Jong is happy and settled in Barcelona and is not keen to swap the sunshine and beaches of Catalonia for Manchester either – as he is unwilling to drop down to the Europa League.
Despite that, some Barcelona fans hurled abuse at him on Wednesday, instructing him to take a pay cut on his salary and labelling the 25-year-old a ‘b***h’.
On Thursday, there were still some supporters telling him to ‘lower his salary’, but the majority were shouting for him to stay at Barcelona.
Money-troubled Barcelona are cranking up the pressure on De Jong to leave and even informed him last month that they had ‘found evidence of criminal actions’ over the contract extension he signed in October 2020 – when a different board were in charge.
Barca also cannot register some of their new signings until they have sold more players and lowered their wage bill, with supporters now beginning to turn on the players who won’t leave.
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