Bayern are interested in Frenkie de Jong. The people in charge at the club are considering a loan move with option to buy, similar to the Coutinho deal three years ago.
With the Bundesliga season well under way and only single-digit days left in the summer transfer window, which closes August 31, this would be a shock swoop on a number of levels. Romero seems to be plugged in to all things Barça, but with little else to go on, we can only hazard guesses.
So let’s do that. Can it happen? And would it be sensible?
Can it happen?
De Jong is 25 years of age and a stellar midfield talent — not the type of player normally available this late in the game. But Barça, as we know all too well, have overhauled their squad this summer and need player sales and pay reductions to justify and even register their incoming transfers. Part of that has been what seems to be a summer-long public campaign to vilify De Jong for not accepting a pay cut or a move away, even including a legal threat to nullify his current contract.
It’s puzzling why Barcelona would allow this to happen to one of their players, and even more so that the player has apparently wanted to stay through it all. To be fair, it’s also been said that he preferred a move to a successful club like Bayern over the one who had actually made his club the offer, Manchester United.
So on the player’s side, there is a possibility. From the club’s position? Well, they clearly have been trying to push him out — even if coach Xavi Hernández still seems to value him and has started him in their recent win over Real Sociedad.
And Barça are operating against the clock now. August 31 is also the deadline for Barcelona to register prized new center-back Joules Koundé, for which they reportedly need to clear €17m off their books.
After so, so many financial levers there’s something to be said about balancing part of the books again. The Catalan club just might jump at a chance to be rid of their classy star midfielder who bleeds for the team...which, again, is odd, but okay!
Would it make sense?
Bayern’s early season run of injuries led to a sudden shuffle on the defensive line in just the third Bundesliga matchday. There isn’t a true backup for Alphonso Davies on the roster — Lucas Hernández, who started against VfL Bochum, is already a normal starter at center-back, and Paul Wanner is both sixteen and an attacking midfielder. At first blush, midfield isn’t the first place one would think to look for reinforcements.
However, there are other considerations for a club with Champions League trophy ambitions — and any opportunity to upgrade the XI, particularly cheaply, should be taken seriously. Marcel Sabitzer has held down the double pivot position next to Joshua Kimmich very well through three games, allowing Kimmich to pull the strings further advanced in attack. But that’s the same sort of thing De Jong might be able to do at an even higher level — arguably, he is world-class and a true two-way midfielder with both offensive and defensive qualities par excellence. Bayern have also been trying to add to this position all summer, with their pursuit of RB Leipzig’s Konrad Laimer finally looking dead in the water.
So there’s a chance that De Jong would fit at Bayern in the long term as well as in the present, and a chance that Barça aren’t in position to demand too much of a loan fee or even a future sell clause.
On the other hand, after Sabi’s positive start to the season, it would be very tough to crowd him out of the lineup now. Squad harmony is a precious commodity. And with box-to-box midfielder Leon Goretzka to return at some point, plus 19-year-old wonderkid Ryan Gravenberch already acquired this summer as the future of Bayern’s central midfield, playing time might quickly become scarce for players currently in the locker room who really need it.
Still, perhaps those potential issues can be filed away as ‘good problems to have’ — as well as future ones. If Bayern can swoop in now and add a high-class player they have long admired, and who admires them back, the opportunity may prove too tantalizing to resist.