News, Culture & Society

Frenkie De Jong’s Barcelona contract saga another sorry chapter for Catalans

PETE JENSON: Barca haven’t made clear WHY they suspect illegality as they try to rip up De Jong’s 2020 contract extension… it’s another sorry chapter in Laporta’s desperate clean-up job

  • Barcelona’s board have investigated Frenkie de Jong’s deal signed in 2020
  • Josep Bartomeu also extended the deals of three other players at the time 
  • The claim is that this has ended up costing Barcelona an extra £263million 
  • They want de Jong’s contract torn up so that he can go back on his previous deal

‘Well we had gone several days without a scandal so a fresh one was always likely.’

That’s how one Spanish radio journalist reacted to news that Barcelona were considering tearing up Frenkie de Jong’s contract or at least going to court over.

Barcelona’s current board have investigated De Jong’s deal and three more of the contract extensions signed off by the last board, but they have not made it clear exactly why they suspect illegality.

Barcelona’s board have investigated midfielder Frenkie de Jong’s deal signed in 2020

They did the same for Clement Lenglet (front), Gerard Pique (back) and Marc Andre ter Stegen

They did the same for Clement Lenglet (front), Gerard Pique (back) and Marc Andre ter Stegen

It’s another sorry chapter in the club’s desperate attempts to put their house in order after the mismanagement of the previous regime, who for once might not be sufficiently to blame for this to stick. At least not legally anyway.

As well as extending De Jong’s contract in 2020, former president Josep Bartomeu also did the same for Clement Lenglet, Gerard Pique and Marc Andre ter Stegen.

But Barcelona were finding it impossible to pay players salaries at the time, in the midst of the pandemic and Bartomeu’s board’s solution was to get players to defer wages in exchange for longer deals.

The claim is that this has ended up costing Barcelona an extra £263million (€311m). The phrase ‘bread today, hunger tomorrow’ has been used to criticise the former board, but that’s a bit rich when it’s been exactly the same this summer.

Josep Bartomeu's board's solution was for players to defer wages in exchange for longer deals

Josep Bartomeu’s board’s solution was for players to defer wages in exchange for longer deals

The current president Joan Laporta has sold off future TV revenue in exchange for new income

The current president Joan Laporta has sold off future TV revenue in exchange for new income to fund the side’s new signings. 

One big chunk of Barça Studios has also been sold and another chunk is ready to be signed off. It’s all ‘bread today, hunger tomorrow’.

It’s hard to see how this was anything more than a tactic in the battle to force De Jong to accept a move to Manchester United. 

Barcelona have been investigating these contracts for three months and have not ruled out prosecuting for fraudulent administration but surely that would have happened by now if it was a genuine possibility.

They want De Jong’s contract to be torn up so that he can go back on his previous deal.

One big chunk of Barça Studios has also been sold and another chunk is ready to be signed off

One big chunk of Barça Studios has also been sold and another chunk is ready to be signed off

But it’s not clear what would then happen to the deferred wages. 

It seems unlikely he would not fight any bid to take away the longer contracts and new deal that he received in return for delaying payment of his wages through the pandemic.

Bartomeu was certainly guilty of stitching his successor up when, just before he stood down he agreed new deals that would have to be paid by the next president. 

But he can argue it was the only way the club could get through the pandemic and it’s hard to see the matter can go beyond that.

In the mean time Barcelona have still not quite got into a position where they can register all new signings, and De Jong is still at the club.



***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk