Frenkie de Jong could leave FC Barcelona for free in 2026 with his contract renewal talks currently frozen according to MARCA.
Barca have recently renewed Marc-Andre ter Stegen, with the German taking a pay cut to stay at the club until at least June 2028 by when he would already be 36.
The German has effectively agreed to spend the rest of his career with the Catalans, who he joined in 2014 from Borussia Monchengladbach.
With the future of one of the best goalkeepers in the world secure, President Joan Laporta would like to pull off a similar trick with De Jong.
The Dutchman signed from Ajax in 2019 for a fee of €75 million ($80 million) is set to earn over €27 million ($28.8 million) this season.
This makes him the highest earner in Xavi Hernandez’s first team squad by some distance, well ahead of striker Robert Lewandowski.
The amount is simply unaffordable for Barca during a time when La Liga has set them a team salary limit of €270 million ($288 million).
According to the EFE, the Spanish champions are way over budget with a current outlay of €404 million ($431 million).
SPORT and Mundo Deportivo reported that this dilemma is jeopardizing the arrival of Vitor Roque in January, though Xavi said at his prematch press conference ahead of Real Betis on Saturday that sporting director Deco assures him the original schedule can be stuck to.
Regardless of what happens with all that, it appears De Jong is in no rush to restructure his current deal by extending and then spreading his pay out over the years past 2026 he can give his current employers.
Barca haven’t made him an official offer yet either, and MARCA explains how De Jong is aware that any potential new club can probably pay him what he is currently set to earn in Catalonia plus a handsome signing-on bonus if he joins them for free in said year.
With Sergio Busquets now in the MLS, De Jong has proven himself to be an indispensable part of Xavi’s first XI and one of the best midfielders in the world.
By mid-2026 he will have recently turned 29 and should still be at his peak.
Furthermore, interest from the likes of the two Manchester outfits and Paris Saint-Germain has been a constant since he made his breakthrough with Ajax at the turn of the decade and shouldn’t wade if he maintains his current form.
At the same time, however, De Jong is comfortable with life in Barcelona where he plays for his “dream” club.
If Barca can get their financial house in order by 2025 and pay him what he deserves, he is more likely to give the rest of his peak years to Barca than look elsewhere for more money.