'You can't talk to a player who is under contract' - Barca boss Valverde hits out at Guardiola over De Jong talks

Comments()
Getty/Goal composite
The Dutchman has agreed a deal with Barca after a lengthy courtship, but the Man City boss has come under fire for attempting to derail the move

Ernesto Valverde has hit out at Pep Guardiola after new Barcelona signing Frenkie de Jong claimed the Manchester City boss made contact with him personally about signing for the Premier League champions.

De Jong had been heavily linked with City before agreeing a deal with Barca, and Guardiola had made no secret of his interest in the Netherlands international.

Last week, De Jong claimed that Guardiola had contacted him directly whilst he was still under contract at former club Ajax.

He opted to join Valverde’s Barcelona instead, snubbing both City and French champions Paris St Germain, and the Barca boss was critical of Guardiola’s attempts to lure his man.

"Talking to a player who is under contract with another team is something that can't be done," he told Marca .

"You can't talk to a player who is under contract and that's something that isn't in my personal code, but suffice to say, everyone has their own way of acting.”

Barca finally landed De Jong last week after a lengthy courtship, signing a five-year contract set to commence on 1 July this year, and the 21 year-old will be expected to fight for a place in Valverde’s first-team line-up.

He will continue to turn out for Ajax for the remainder of the season, and is set to line up against Barca’s great rivals Real Madrid when the sides meet in the Champions League last-16 next month.

"Everything depends on the performance that De Jong gives in the future,” said Valverde of his new signing’s prospects.

“He'll need to adapt despite coming in from a club with a similar philosophy to us at Barcelona.

"He's young and the club has to look at that but we are incorporating players who are enriching the game and can be important for us."

Valverde also faced questions about the rotation policy that has seen some of the team’s stars – including Lionel Messi – dropped to the bench in recent weeks.

Article continues below

Messi was left out of the team for Barca’s 3-1 win against Leganes last Sunday.

"Those decisions are up to the coach," said Valverde.

"He's the one who knows best how his players are and how they're feeling. I have to make these choices about my team, but I always do what I think is best for my team and my players."

Close