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Barcelona threaten legal action over Frenkie de Jong contract

Barcelona has informed Frenkie de Jong that they want to void his current contract and reinstate the one he had before, claiming that the terms set forth by the club’s previous board involved criminal activity and gave rise to grounds for legal action against those involved, according to The Athletic.

The Catalan side is struggling financially, and one strategy they are using to get things better is to sell De Jong or come to an agreement with him on back pay that he is due.

In what is quickly evolving into one of the most spectacular sagas the game has seen, there hasn’t been any indication of a compromise between the 25-year-old Netherlands midfielder and his employers.

As was reported on July 14, Manchester United had a bid for De Jong accepted, but the player’s problems — the unpaid debt and his desire to join United — remained unsolved.

Barcelona allegedly wrote to De Jong on July 15 and claimed to have discovered proof of illegal activity on behalf of the parties that signed his extension on October 20, 2020, according to sources in Spain.

According to reports, his compensation was lowered for the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 seasons due to a two–year extension until 2026, leaving €18 million (£15.2 million, $18.3 million) to be distributed over the next four seasons.

One of the last choices made by the then-president Josep Bartomeu before he and the entire board of directors at the moment resigned from their positions was De Jong’s deal, which was revealed alongside three others — Gerard Pique, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and Clement Lenglet.

According to the letter written to De Jong last month, Barcelona believes they are in a position to file a criminal complaint to determine what transpired in regard to the signing of his contract and determine who is accountable for the alleged violation.

The document is then thought to state Barcelona’s desire to void the agreement and continue De Jong’s career at the Camp Nou under the terms decided upon when he arrived from Ajax in January 2019.

According to The Athletic, the former board is confident in the validity of the contract De Jong signed in 2020 and maintains that the agreement was reached only after receiving the blessing of the relevant authorities and La Liga. Last year, former president Bartomeu argued that the previous board’s management of the club was “serious and responsible” in an interview with the Barcelona newspaper Mundo Deportivo.

According to sources close to the Catalan club, Barcelona and De Jong’s camp have recently spoken again, and the current board has warned that De Jong and his representatives may also be involved in the suspected criminal activity committed by their predecessors.

That can be interpreted as supporting remarks made by Evgeniy Levchenko, the chairman of the Dutch players’ organization, that De Jong might be the target of extortion. However, current Barcelona president Joan Laporta refutes this theory. The international players’ organization FIFPRO is rumored to be keeping a close eye on the situation and Barcelona’s attempts to get the player to take a significantly lower payment than the €18 million he promised to defer during the outbreak.

Although Lenglet is on loan at Tottenham Hotspur, Barcelona is having similar discussions with Pique and Ter Stegen. It is uncertain if Barcelona has also spoken with a legal representative.

De Jong prefers to remain with the 26-time La Liga champions, but if a transfer does occur, he is claimed to not have made up his mind on the team he wants to play for just yet.

Chelsea has a strong interest in De Jong, and although it is believed they have not yet made a formal offer, insiders say they are ready to pay the transfer fee and the salary debt should De Jong decide to move to Stamford Bridge. Although it is believed that won’t be enough to determine his ultimate destination, they have an advantage over United in that they will be playing Champions League football this season.

Despite their situation, Barcelona has made some important additions this summer, including Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, and Jules Kounde. Both Barcelona and De Jong’s management company, HCM Sports Management, denied requests for comment.

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