Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said there is "no extortion" regarding trying to get Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong to reduce his salary.
Barcelona have now added Leeds winger Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski from Bayern, and Sevilla's Jules Kounde in a busy summer, in addition to the signings of Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen on free transfers from Milan and Chelsea respectively. This after they went into the summer with serious financial worries.
The re-signing of Ousmane Dembele was also celebrated as a coup, with the French winger rejecting reported Chelsea interest to stay with the Catalan club. Barca's summer splurge has cost around £130m in transfer fees alone, but manager Xavi Hernandez now has a vastly strengthened squad.
Premier League
If Man Utd players cared they’d use this fallout as motivation – The Warm-Up
The big-money moves have resulted in criticism from numerous directions. Manchester United legend and former Valencia coach Gary Neville has been vocal in his criticism of the club's handling of the De Jong situation, with the club seeming to offer him out to other clubs whilst saying publicly that if he wants to stay he will have to take a salary reduction.
It appeared as though the strategy might culminate in De Jong moving to Manchester United. The long-rumoured transfer turned into a saga for the ages, but seems to have ultimately ended with De Jong agreeing to remain at Barcelona on potentially reduced wages.
Barcelona have been accused of "extortion" by the Dutch players' union chairperson Evgeniy Levchenko in the De Jong case, but Laporta denies the charges speaking in an interview with CBS Sports.
"The first thing to say is we want Frenkie to stay at Barcelona. We love the player and him as a human being. I want him to stay at Barcelona. He's a high-quality player and a good guy. I also know that he wants to stay.
"All we are doing with Frenkie is the same as the rest of the squad. The signings coming in have adjusted their salary to the new structure. But Frenkie has a contract and we respect that. We can't force him to take a pay cut. It's his decision
"We are trying to manage the football club in a prudent and sustainable way. So we have to have these talks and we do so in a calm and considered way. We have explained the situation and are grateful to any players who can help us. It was the same with Dembele and I am very grateful to him. And after months of talks, he accepted a renegotiation of his salary and he can be proud of his decision.
"There is no extortion being used on Frenkie or anyone else.
"I respect his opinion, but if talks between two parties counts as extortion then I think this guy is wrong."

Chelsea target Kounde set to join Barcelona after club agrees deal with Sevilla

Laporta was asked what would happen if De Jong doesn't take a paycut but stays at Barcelona to which he replied "Then he will continue. Has has a contract. We will respect that decision. For us, he's a Barcelona player. We count on him."
He added "But in principle, I can say there is a strong possibility he stays, and I can say as president I will do my best for him to stay at Barcelona."
In response to Neville he said "No answer. I respect his opinion. But in my opinion he's not right because I insist we are respecting all our players. We follow the contracts. If we invest in new players it's to make the club more competitive.
"It's a circle: You invest in new players, the fans engage and that in turn improves our economy. Gary has been a very good football player for Manchester United. I respect his opinion and that's all I have to say."
Laporta also doubled down on his hopes to bring Lionel Messi back before he retires.
Laporta returned to the club presidency in March 2021 after 11 years, and was immediately confronted with a disastrous financial situation.
Complicating matters for Laporta was the imminent expiration of Messi's contract. Ultimately, Laporta was unable to resolve the financial problems in time to keep Messi, who left the club to join PSG last summer.
Laporta, who was in charge during the first glorious period of Messi's playing career - a period during which the club collected 12 trophies and Messi rose to the status of world's best player, winning his first Ballon d'Or in 2009 - was clear in expressing his desire to bring him back to the club.
"I feel in moral debt to Messi. He's the best player in our history and I will do my best in order to ensure he can have the best ending of his career with a Barça shirt on."
Messi's departure to join PSG was traumatic for Barcelona fans, and a return would be a popular move, but the French champions are not likely to make it easy. Messi joined on a two-year deal which included an option for a third year, meaning that any move for the Argentinian legend would be far from cheap.
Laporta has successfully overhauled Barcelona's finances, using the now famous "economic levers", including raising £495m via the sale of future television and licensing rights, before beginning a major squad overhaul.
Ballon d'Or
When is the 2022 Ballon d'Or shortlist announced?
Premier League
Haaland! Messi! Spurs! Man Utd… Football, football, everywhere – The Warm-Up