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‘Stop crying’ – Rio Ferdinand blasts Manchester United fans after transfer deal

Sir Alex Ferguson uttered one of his most famous remarks as Manchester United manager in December 2008, lashing back at Real Madrid amid their continuous pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo.

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“Do you think I’d sign a deal with their gang?” No way, Jesus Christ. “I wouldn’t sell them a virus,” Ferguson said of talks in Spain where a deal had already been reached.

Of course, a deal was struck the following summer, but Ferguson’s wrath revealed his distaste for Real and the manner in which they approached signing Ronaldo.

This had been a contentious transfer battle, with Real employing every trick in the book to entice Ronaldo away from Old Trafford, including a public wooing aimed to unsettle the player, which resulted in Ronaldo claiming he was being treated like a slave by being forced to stay at United.

Transfers are more frequently played out in the public eye these days, and Ronaldo is once again attempting to engineer a move away from Manchester United.

But that is not the transfer saga that has consumed Old Trafford for the majority of the summer; rather, it is their attempts to sign Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, with talks on a deal approaching the three-month mark.

When this endless saga concludes, a few United execs may be ready to repurpose Ferguson’s comments and direct it at Spain’s other flagship club.

Barcelona has been the driving force in this transfer window, and United are far from the only club to be irritated by them; Chelsea have lost many transfer targets to a club steeped in debt, who are remortgaging for tomorrow in order to pay for today.

That is simply kicking the can down the road, and the feeling is that there will be a day of reckoning at the Nou Camp, and it will not be pretty.

They have now spent roughly £140 million on five players this summer despite being unable to register any of them to play in La Liga at the present, despite debts that recently amounted to more than £1 billion, putting them on the verge of bankruptcy.

To fund this spending spree, they have renegotiated certain loans and sold stakes in future income, flogging a tenth of their La Liga TV rights to investment group Sixth Street, and just under half of its licensing and merchandise business could still go under the hammer.

President Joan Laporta has referred to this as their “economic levers” for a summer of spending to bolster Xavi’s squad, but it is a very short-term remedy, and even quicker remedies are still required, as players must be sold, and there are some who are surplus to requirements.

De Jong may not fall into that category, but he is a marketable asset, and Barcelona is ready to cash in on the 25-year-old, with the club’s school producing a new midfield.

United reached an outline deal for the player a few weeks ago, but it has since been stalled due to a dispute over postponed wages, which De Jong is owed and, quite rightfully, wants. However, nothing is as simple in Barcelona.

Despite scouting him across Europe and Xavi putting him at center-back in pre-season, Laporta has stated multiple times that he wants the Dutch midfielder to stay.

Yesterday, the president of Barcelona intimated that De Jong would have to accept more compensation limits if he wanted to stay with the club.

“Frenkie is a Barcelona player,” Laporta explained, “and we want him to stay as much as he wants to stay.” We’ve had significant proposals for him, but he’s our player. You are aware of the wage budget difficulties, so we will do all possible to keep Frenkie at Barca. I’m hoping he’ll follow suit.”

United is taking a step back for the time being as De Jong negotiates his salary with Barcelona; there has been chatter in Spain that he does not want to come to Old Trafford, but the club has not spent 12 weeks working on a deal without indications that a move is a possibility.

There is still just over a month left in the transfer season, and a resolution to a drama that began in May appears no closer. If United can eventually bring De Jong in, they may breathe a sigh of relief and swear never to deal with Barcelona again.

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