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'I never wanted to sell De Jong!' - Man Utd target told he's a 'pillar' of Barcelona squad as Laporta denies trying to offload midfielder

10:51 AM EST 12/22/22
Frenkie de Jong Barcelona Cadiz 2022-23
After nearly a year of speculation about Frenkie de Jong's future at Barcelona, president Joan Laporta claimed he never wanted to sell the midfielder.
  • De Jong never likely to leave
  • Was linked to Man United last summer
  • Dubbed crucial to Barca project

WHAT HAPPENED? The Dutch midfielder was rumoured to be leaving the club for most of last summer, with Manchester United reported to be one of the player's likely destinations. But now, five months after De Jong seemed likely to exit amid the Blaugrana's well-documented financial woes, Barca president Joan Laporta insists he never wanted the Dutch player to leave.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I have never wanted to sell Frenkie de Jong because he is one of the mainstays we have, he is one of the great talents, young and called to be like he is already one of the team leaders," Laporta told Barca TV.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Barcelona are still constrained by financial regulations, even after activating a number of so-called "levers" to free up room for activity in the transfer market. Laporta admitted that the club are unlikely to make any moves in January, despite their reported interest in Dortmund striker Youssoufa Moukoko and other top talents.

Additionally, Laporta's revelation on De Jong deals a major blow to Manchester United, who were reported to still be interested in signing the player either this January or going forward.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR DE JONG? The Dutch midfielder will continue to be crucial for Barca as they look to win their first La Liga title in three years.