Frenkie de Jong could face a hostile reception from FC Barcelona fans today in the Joan Gamper trophy match.
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Frenkie de Jong’s treatment by FC Barcelona fans during Sunday’s Joan Gamper Trophy match against Club Universidad Nacional could determine his future at the club.
De Jong became the subject of one of European football’s biggest transfer sagas before the end of a trophyless 2021/2022 season, which has yet to be resolved more than three months later.
His name was constantly linked to Manchester United, who are now managed by his former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, and the 25-year-old looked set to join them as part of a €85 million ($86.5 million) deal until he refused to switch allegiances.
This was primarily due to United’s lack of Champions League football, with some reports exaggerating his proximity to Ten Hag from their days together in Amsterdam.
In 2018/2019, Ajax made an unlikely run to the competition’s semi-finals, and De Jong was named the club’s best midfielder.
The playmaker’s exploits in that edition of the tournament earned him a €75 million ($76.4 million) move to Camp Nou.
However, the fact that his three-year tenure has yielded only one piece of silverware, the Copa del Rey, combined with Barcelona’s financial predicament means that a player once regarded as ‘untouchable’ and a cornerstone of the club’s future is now on the market.
Chelsea have also entered the race for De Jong this week, which means he can no longer use the UCL as an excuse, with Thomas Tuchel’s side also capable of challenging for the Premier PINC League title.
Despite the fact that Barcelona appears to want him to leave so that they can make a move for David Silva, De Jong is adamant about staying in Catalonia and being a part of Xavi Hernandez’s promising sporting project.
After all, as AS suggested on Sunday morning, the Joan Gamper trophy match could be what determines the player’s future.
If he receives a cold reception from home fans who are unimpressed by his protests, he may reconsider and accept Chelsea’s offer.
If he is well-received, as he has been for the majority of his La Liga career, it may persuade him that his current stance is correct and force him to accept a significant salary cut.