- De Jong never wanted to leave Catalonia
- Says he faced pressure from the president
- Barcelona have severe economic problems
WHAT HAPPENED? Manchester United's interest in midfielder De Jong was no secret over the summer, and the Dutchman has now opened up on the transfer saga. He has reiterated that he did not want to leave Catalonia and admitted there was external pressure for him to make a move, including from president Joan Laporta.
WHAT HE SAID: Speaking to Ziggo Sport ahead of the Clasico fixture against Real Madrid, De Jong said: "I was calm. I decided, in May, that I wanted to stay. My opinion has never changed during all this period. I remained calm. But then you know that the pressure would start coming... Yes, from the newspapers, from the president... From everywhere in fact. But I wanted to stay at Barca, so it never baffled me."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Barcelona reportedly wanted to shift De Jong off the wage bill this summer as Xavi looked to put his stamp on the team in his second transfer window in charge of the club. De Jong's unwillingness to leave contributed to the Blaugrana activating several economic levers in order to register a host of new signings including Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde.
IN THREE PHOTOS:Pep MorataGetty ImagesGetty Images
WHAT NEXT FOR DE JONG & BARCELONA? Barcelona face bitter rivals Real Madrid in a top-of-the-table Clasico clash this weekend. Both teams are sat on 22 points an a win would provided huge momentum should either side claim three points.