Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has affirmed that he never considered leaving the club in the summer transfer window amid links with Manchester United.
Speculation surrounding a possible move to Old Trafford for the 25-year-old dominated large portions of the recent window, with Erik ten Hag determined to reunite with his former Ajax starlet.
At one stage, the 20-time English champions were reported to have agreed a fee with Barcelona, who were open to a sale in order to alleviate their financial difficulties.
However, De Jong refused to enter into personal negotiations with Man United, who continued their pursuit of the Netherlands international for some time in the hope of changing his mind.
In the end, Man United walked away from De Jong and instead struck a deal for Real Madrid’s Casemiro, and the Barcelona man has now broken his silence on the summer saga.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the Netherlands’ Nations League showdown with Poland on Thursday, De Jong insisted that he kept a cool head throughout the summer due to his desire to remain at Camp Nou.
“I always wanted to stay at Barcelona and this is why I always remained calm in the summer,” De Jong told a press conference.
However, the ex-Ajax man was rumoured to have felt disrespected by Barcelona at some points during the window when it appeared that the Catalan giants were attempting to force him out of the club.
Man United’s lack of Champions League football and his deferred wages at Barcelona both contributed to his decision to stay at the club, while Xavi and Joan Laporta publicly announced their desires to keep him.
De Jong has admitted that there were some disagreements between player and club during the protracted saga, though, adding: “I can’t give too many details away.
“But look, the club has its own ideas and I have my own ideas too, and sometimes this clashes with each other. But at the end of the day things went okay.”
De Jong remains under contract at Camp Nou until the end of the 2025-26 season and has amassed 14 goals and 18 assists in 148 appearances for Barcelona since arriving in 2019.
Added competition for places in the midfield means that De Jong has found starts hard to come by this season, making the first XI in four of his side’s eight games in La Liga and the Champions League.
Gavi and Pedri have established themselves as integral cogs in Xavi’s engine room, while Franck Kessie arrived from AC Milan in the summer, but he is also struggling for regular starting roles.
The Catalans also have Sergio Busquets on the books, although the 34-year-old is only under contract in Catalonia for another nine months and is being tipped to leave at the end of the season.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves, Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi and Rennes’ Lovro Majer have all been named as potential successors to Busquets if he does depart next summer.