Manchester United’s pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong is still rumbling on.
Now, the Catalan side’s president has come out and responded to the claims that De Jong is being asked to have his pay cut to aid the club’s financial woes.
It’s been reported that the Dutchman will have to accept a decrease in his wages despite Barca not wanting to lose him.
But the Spanish club’s chief has now stated that the club won’t be forcing their star into a pay cut.
Speaking to CBS Sport, Laporta said: “The first thing to say is we want Frenkie to stay at Barcelona. We love the player and him as a human being. I want him to stay at Barcelona. He’s a high-quality player and a good guy. I also know that he wants to stay.
He added: “All we are doing with Frenkie is the same as the rest of the squad. The signings coming in have adjusted their salary to the new structure. But Frenkie has a contract and we respect that. We can’t force him to take a pay cut. It’s his decision
“We are trying to manage the football club in a prudent and sustainable way. So we have to have these talks and we do so in a calm and considered way.
“We have explained the situation and are grateful to any players who can help us. It was the same with Dembele and I am very grateful to him. And after months of talks, he accepted a renegotiation of his salary and he can be proud of his decision.”
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Asked what would happen if his deal did not change, Laporta said: “Then he will continue. Has has a contract. We will respect that decision. For us, he’s a Barcelona player. We count on him.”
And he then admitted De Jong’s future was far from certain.
“In football, you never know,” he added. “I can’t say categorically [he will stay]. It all depends on the different parties. But in principle, I can say there is a strong possibility he stays, and I can say as president I will do my best for him to stay at Barcelona.”
Laporta’s comments come after former Manchester United defender and cult hero Gary Neville suggested the Red Devils’ target should to consider legal action against Barcelona for ‘bullying’ him.
The ex-England star stated tweeted about De Jong’s situation on Monday, stating it was wrong that Barcelona owed the midfielder £17million in unpaid wages but continued to buy players.
However, Laporta believes Neville’s claims about the situation are incorrect.
He said: “There is no extortion being used on Frenkie or anyone else. I respect his opinion, but if talks between two parties counts as extortion then I think this guy is wrong.”
Whilst it remains to be seen if the Dutchman will take a pay cut or not, it’s understood he’s happy to remain at the Nou Camp.
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