Barcelona are reportedly planning to ask Frenkie de Jong to take another pay cut, in a bid to free up the funds which could allow them to bring Lionel Messi back to the Camp Nou.
Messi will leave PSG when his contract expires next month, having joined the French giants on a free transfer two years ago when Barca could not afford to keep him amid their financial struggles.
Those difficulties are far from over for the La Liga champions elect, but that hasn’t stopped them exploring the possibility of re-signing the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner this summer.
According to Mundo Deportivo (via the Mirror), Barca want De Jong to further reduce his wages – after the midfielder did so to help the club during the pandemic – in order to give them some financial wriggle-room.
The report adds that Barca also wants to bring down the salary of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
In the case of De Jong, Manchester United may be monitoring developments with great interest – having chased the Netherlands international in one of the epic (but ultimately fruitless) transfer sagas of last summer.
De Jong, 25 – who is currently valued at €60m (£53.2m) by Transfermarkt – still has three years left to run on his deal at Barca, who he joined from Ajax in 2019.
Messi, meanwhile, has been strongly linked with a move to Saudi Arabia – where Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Al-Nassr in January.
Argentina’s World Cup winning captain – who turns 36 next month – could reportedly earn more than £300m a year in the Saudi Pro League.