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Barcelona’s Deco and De Jong’s agent hold crucial talks amid contract speculation

Frenkie de Jong / Getty Images
Frenkie de Jong / Getty Images

Deco and Frenkie De Jong’s agent convened at a Barcelona restaurant this afternoon to address recent tensions.

Deco and Ali Dursun have decided to tackle the Frenkie de Jong situation head-on. SPORT has learned that the Barça Football Director and the player’s agent held a meeting on Friday afternoon at a well-known Barcelona restaurant. Amid a tumultuous week following Frenkie’s outspoken press conference before the Napoli-Barça match, both Deco and Dursun felt it necessary to meet face-to-face, exchange opinions directly, and prevent external noise from damaging the good rapport between the parties.

De Jong vented his frustration against the media and certain reports he deemed “false.” However, despite the media being the target of his grievances, Deco recognized that the resulting upheaval could affect the club and potentially erode trust on the player’s side. Given that in 2022, the club reportedly utilized media pressure to push him out, this concern was valid.

The meeting, lasting about an hour and a half, maintained a positive and cooperative tone. Barcelona aims to convey support and confidence to the Dutchman, who, in turn, is clear about his happiness with the club and the city of Barcelona. As reported by SPORT earlier this week, communication between the parties has been frequent, with Dursun visiting Barcelona multiple times in recent months.

While the player’s contractual situation remains a topic of discussion, Barcelona remains keen on retaining Frenkie for the long term. Negotiations between the parties will continue, with both sides striving for a mutually beneficial agreement. De Jong’s contract extends until 2026, and his comfort in Barcelona should be a significant factor in reaching a satisfactory resolution.

Deco and Dursun’s meeting signals Barcelona’s proactive approach to addressing the “Frenkie case” after the player’s controversial press conference ahead of the Napoli match, where he criticized media reports about his contract and future at the club. Following the ensuing storm, SPORT confirmed Deco and Dursun took the initiative to bridge differences. Deco’s primary objective is to plan the future of Barcelona’s squad, with Frenkie’s intentions being a priority to define the course of action.

Despite recent events, Barcelona isn’t rushing for an immediate response from the player, not expecting a decision in the short term, neither in the coming weeks nor before summer. Frenkie’s current contract provides ample time for the club to address his future. Deco’s efforts to maintain regular communication with Frenkie’s representative contrast with the previous management under Mateu Alemany, a move appreciated by the player’s camp.

De Jong’s agent reiterated the player’s happiness in Barcelona and his ambition to win trophies with the club. He expressed confidence that, under a new coach, Barcelona would build a competitive and winning project—a crucial aspect for securing their future relationship. Despite winning only one La Liga title (2023), one Spanish Super Cup (2023), and one Copa del Rey (2021) since his arrival, Frenkie remains committed to Barcelona’s success.

Deco emphasized Frenkie’s importance to the club’s future, alongside Ronald Araujo and Pedri, considering him a key midfielder. However, it will be up to the new coach to determine his role, whether as a pivot or an interior.

The club’s plan includes gradually negotiating his contract renewal. Despite his high salary, a remnant from Bartomeu’s era during the pandemic, Barcelona aims to align it with the club’s current economic reality.

Beyond financial matters, Barcelona conveyed to Frenkie their appreciation for his future contribution, an essential factor considering his desire to succeed at the club despite past challenges. Frenkie’s stellar performances since his breakout in the 2018/2019 Champions League with Ajax have attracted numerous suitors, with PSG and Tottenham among the latest to express interest. Offers of around €60 million could turn this summer into another De Jong saga.