Barcelona threaten legal action by demanding Frenkie de Jong cancel the contract extension


Barcelona’s financial woes have resulted in one of the strangest contract demands in recent memory.

The Spanish football club has urged midfielder Frenkie de Jong to scrap the lucrative contract extension he signed in 2020 and threatened legal action against him, according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein. Barcelona reportedly sent a letter to de Jong on July 15, stating that the team had “found evidence of criminal activity on behalf of the parties that signed his renewal on October 20, 2020”.

“The letter, which was sent to De Jong last month, is intended to inform the Dutchman that Barcelona believe they are in a position to launch criminal proceedings to establish what happened in relation to the signing of his contract and order determine where responsibility for the alleged misconduct lies.” Ornstein wrote. “It is believed that it then reflects Barcelona’s desire to reverse the deal and continue De Jong’s career at the Camp Nou on the terms agreed when he arrived from Ajax in January 2019.”

It should be noted that former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the entire board resigned on October 27, 2020. It was Joan Laporta elected the new president of the club on March 7, 2021.

This appears to be Barcelona’s last resort to save money after De Jong refused to take a pay cut earlier this year. Barcelona finally agreed to send De Jong to Manchester United although his transfer is ongoing.

But Evgeniy Levchenko, the leader of the Dutch players’ union, is concerned Barcelona will try to ‘blackmail’ De Jong by benching him if he doesn’t want to leave the club.

“Barcelona bear full responsibility,” Levchenko said in July. “The club’s long-term policy is dramatic. It’s crazy when players have to foot the bill for the financial mess.”

Barcelona claim they want to keep De Jong but they may not have a choice anymore.

La Liga will already not register the club’s latest transfers, which include Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Jules Koundé, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen, as they may not meet the league’s financial fair play requirements. The club reportedly have €1.3bn in debt and -€144m below the league’s salary cap. Barcelona have already sold up to 25 percent of their LaLiga TV money for up to 25 years but need more money to make up the difference needed to remain solvent.

Saying goodbye to de Jong or agreeing to a pay cut would certainly help too. Barcelona are also reportedly in ‘similar talks’ with Gerard Pique and Marc-Andre ter Stegen over possible pay cuts.

The whole situation is delicate and frustrating for the league, its fans and the club’s players. And until the alleged “crime” in de Jong’s deal is exposed, the ordeal will remain mysterious.

Frenkie de Jong is now at the center of Barcelona’s financial woes. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

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