Frenkie de Jong Joined Barcelona Over PSG Following Offer From Nike to Subsidise Wages

?Frenkie de Jong’s decision to join Barcelona in February is said to have been influenced by Nike’s offer to subsidise the young midfielder’s wages.

Barcelona pipped the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain to the 21-year-old’s signature earlier this year, agreeing a €75m deal that will see him join the Blaugrana at the end of the season.

Frenkie De Jong

According to ?ESPN, PSG were initially in pole position to land the Netherlands international, but an intervention from Nike tipped the balance back into the hands of ?Barcelona.

Nike sponsor both Barcelona and De Jong and ESPN sources are claiming that the company invested a ‘very important amount of money’ in wages in the belief that the youngster’s achievements during his time at Barcelona will see the return exceed the investment. Nike did not, however, contribute to his transfer fee.


For marketing purposes, Nike also requested that De Jong uses his first name on the back of his Barcelona shirt, although he said to have been unsure over whether to agree to the request.

Barcelona and Nike have been working together since 1998 and signed a deal in 2016 that will continue their partnership until 2028. The Catalan giants receive €105m per year from the deal, plus a bonus that can reach up to €160m if certain incentives are met.

As for De Jong, he has previously claimed that the move was solely inspired by his love for Barca from a young age.

“I always dreamed of Barca as a kid. I just wanted to play for Barca,” he said, as per ?Goal. “I liked the players, I liked the style. I think Barca is a bit of my dream club.”


Barcelona President Travelling to Netherlands to Negotiate Deal for Ajax Defender Matthijs de Ligt

?Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is set to travel out to the Netherlands to negotiate a potential deal for Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt.

After an impressive few seasons with Ajax, De Ligt is one of the most sought after defenders in world football, with the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and PSG all said to be interested in snapping him up this summer.


Following on from ?recent reports that claimed ?Barcelona have already submitted a 60m offer for the 19-year-old, Spanish radio network ?Onda Cero is now reporting that Bartomeu is set to travel out to the Netherlands in the coming days.

Bartomeu is in the country to discuss plans for a possible new European Super League, but he’ll use the trip as an excuse to meet with representatives from Ajax in order to negotiate a deal for De Ligt.

Matthijs de Ligt

The report from Onda Cero goes on to claim that, if a deal is to be agreed, then it would most likely be in the region of €65m to €75m.

Bartomeu has openly discussed the fact that Barcelona are interested in snapping up De Ligt, previously stating that the club will always be looking to sign any player with the same level of quality.


“His name is on the table,” Bartomeu said in an interview with SER Catalunya via ?Marca. “Where there is such talent away from Barcelona, we’re always looking at them.

“It’s a topic that will be discussed in our sports planning which begins in March, with [Frenkie] De Jong we felt we had to move quickly because there were many clubs that wanted him.”


Bayern Munich Set to Rival Barcelona in Race to Sign Luka Jovic as Die Roten Prepare Opening Bid

?Bayern Munich are set to make an opening bid to steal a march in the race to sign Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic – though Barcelona are also keen on the Serbian.

The Bundesliga champions have bounced back from a poor start to the season under Niko Kovac and have regained control of the title race once more ahead of Borussia Dortmund, though the Bavarians disappointingly crashed out of the Champions League to Liverpool.

?Bayern have continued to be dependent on the goals of star striker Robert Lewandowski and, with the Pole set to turn 31 next season, Kovac’s side are set to launch a move for Luka Jovic as his long-term successor, according to ?Mundo Deportivo.

It is believed that the Bavarians are set to launch the biggest transfer campaign in the club’s history this summer, with ?Atletico Madrid defender Lucas Hernandez and Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt also targets, whilst a deal has already been sealed for Stuttgart star Benjamin Pavard.

Jovic is said to be among Bayern’s top targets, with an opening bid for the striker apparently imminent.

Luka Jovic

The 21-year-old recently opened the scoring in Serbia’s 1-1 draw with Germany on Wednesday, and Bayern’s opening offer is set to complete a week which has seen the striker’s stock in Europe continue to rise. The Serbian has scored 15 goals in 24 Bundesliga outings this term.

It is a potential blow to ?Barcelona, who are said to be Bayern’s main competitors in the race to sign Jovic this summer.

The Catalan giants are widely said to be on the lookout for a long-term replacement for ?Luis Suarez and, although the player is said to favour a move to Catalonia, Barca are yet to make a concrete move for Jovic, and Bayern could seize the initiative in making the first move.


Barcelona to Give Philippe Coutinho ‘One Month’ to Improve Before Deciding on Potential Summer Sale

?Barcelona are set to give Philippe Coutinho one month to prove himself to the club, before deciding whether they will choose to sell him in the summer or not.

The Brazilian has struggled greatly since making his £142m move from Liverpool in January 2018. His poor form has cost him a place in the starting lineup, with Coutinho seeing just one minute of action in Sunday’s 4-1 win over Real Betis, prompting talk of an imminent departure from the Camp Nou.

?Barcelona are set to face ?Manchester United in the ?Champions League quarter-finals and, according to ?Sport, club officials will meet following the conclusion of that tie on 16 April to discuss Coutinho’s future.

The group have previously met to analyse his form, and that will likely dominate the discussion next month, but it is expected that they could consider selling Coutinho next summer if they feel his form does not merit a regular first-team place.

Ousmane Dembele,Philippe Coutinho

?Ousmane Dembele has continued to blossom for Barcelona, keeping the former ?Liverpool winger on the bench. However, Dembele has been sidelined by a muscle injury in recent weeks, and it is expected that Coutinho will be given plenty of chances to impress as Barcelona face a hectic month.

When Dembele has not been available, manager Ernesto Valverde has regularly utilised a 4-4-2 formation and has deemed Coutinho to be poorly suited to such a style. Barcelona do not want the 26-year-old to remain on the bench, but they appreciate that his form simply has not merited inclusion in the starting lineup in recent weeks.

Philippe Coutinho

They remain confident that he can rediscover his best form at the Camp Nou, but plenty of European giants are circling to involve themselves if Coutinho does become available for transfer. 

The likes of ?Chelsea, ?Manchester United and even Liverpool have been linked with a move for the former ?Premier League star, and Barcelona may find themselves unable to reject a sizeable offer – no less than €100m – for a player who is not a regular part of the lineup.


Spain vs Norway: Luis Enrique’s Best Available La Roja Lineup

Spain get their EURO 2020 qualification campaign underway on Saturday night, when they welcome Norway to Valencia. 

La Roja are looking to reach the European Championship for the seventh consecutive occasion, as well as retaining the trophy they won just seven years ago in 2012. 

Here’s a look at Luis Enrique’s best available Spain lineup to face Norway on Saturday.  

1. Goalkeeper and Defenders

Sergio Ramos

David de Gea (GK) – De Gea will start in goal for Enrique on Saturday, as he earns his 39th cap. The Manchester United goalkeeper has been key for his club this season, playing every minute of every Premier League game while keeping seven clean sheets.

Sergi Roberto (RB) – Roberto is likely to make up Spain’s back four on Saturday, as he is set to earn only his sixth cap. The 27-year-old has made 31 appearances for Barcelona this season, as they sit ten points clear at the top of La Liga.

Sergio Ramos (CB) – Captain Ramos will remain at the heart of Spain’s defence, 14 years after making his debut. The Real Madrid defender has scored 17 goals and earned an impressive 161 caps, more goals and caps than anyone else in the squad. 

Iñigo Martinez (CB) – After Ramos’ long term centre-back partner Gerard Pique retired last year, Martinez has replaced him in defence. The Athletic Bilbao has already earned eight caps, originally making his Spain debut back in 2013 in a friendly against Ecuador.

Jordi Alba (LB) – Alba is likely to get the nod at left back, after turning 30 on Thursday. The Barcelona full back has earned 67 caps for La Roja, and is the third highest scorer in the current Spain squad with eight goals.

2. Midfielders


Saúl Ñíguez (CM) – After Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz had to pull out of the squad through injury, Ñíguez should get his chance for the visit of Norway. The Atletico Madrid midfielder featured in all four of Spain’s Nations League games, with 15 international caps to his name.

Sergio Busquets (CM) – The everpresent Busquets is another name who is almost guaranteed to feature at the Mestalla. Now 30, the Barcelona star remains one of the most experienced players in Enrique’s squad, with a remarkable 111 caps to his name.

Dani Ceballos (CM) – Ceballos should make up Spain’s midfield trio on Saturday, as he looks set to earn his sixth cap. The Real Madrid youngster has done well to find game time at the Santiago Bernabeu, having made 32 appearances across the season.

3. Forwards


Rodrigo (RW) – Rodrigo will make up Spain’s attacking trio in their opening EURO 2020 qualifier, as he earns his 16th cap. The Valencia forward is also in fine form this season, with 11 goals and seven assists this season.

Álvaro Morata (ST) – Morata should start up front for Spain on Saturday, having regained his form since leaving Chelsea for his boyhood club Atletico. The Atleti striker has an outstanding international scoring record, with 13 goals in 27 appearances for the national team.

Marco Asensio (LW) – Enrique looks set to give Asensio a chance in Valencia, having regularly featured for La Roja last year. The 23-year-old has registered 22 appearances for Real Madrid this season, but hasn’t scored a league goal since September.