Frenkie De Jong could be on his way to Manchester United for much less than initially expected, with discussions over a £50million transfer taking place with Barcelona
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United have reportedly opened talks with Barcelona as they see De Jong as the ideal replacement for Paul Pogba, who was given a touching send-off by the club who confirmed his summer departure. New boss Erik ten Hag is a huge fan of De Jong after working with the midfielder at Ajax, and is keen to reunite at Old Trafford.
It was thought that De Jong was keen to snub interest and fight for his place at Barcelona, handing United a blow. But bosses are becoming confident that a deal can be done, and for a much lower price than expected.
De Jong has been a bit part of the Barcelona midfield since signing for the club in 2019, but with the Catalan side keen to make further transfers this summer, they have to balance the books. In an ideal world Xavi would love to keep all of his assets, but due to their financial issues their hand has been forced.
With the likes of Pedri and Gavi prioritised, De Jong many have to make way in order for Barcelona to pursue targets such as Robert Lewandowski. And La Liga president Javier Tebas backed this, by saying it is ‘impossible’ for the club to do business unless they sell.
And that’s music to United’s ears, who have been interested in De Jong for some time, especially since Ten Hag was rumoured to be joining the club. Ten Hag will already look to work Donny van de Beek into his plans, and he could reunite his former Ajax midfield pairing at Old Trafford.
United need midfielders, and fast, as the club confirmed that both Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard would be leaving this summer upon the expiry of their contracts. The club acknowledged their departures in a statement, wishing them both well for the remainder of their careers.
“We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Jesse for all of the memories he’s helped create during his two decades here and wish him the best of luck in his future career,” United stated following the Lingard announcement. And they added: “Everyone at the club would like to congratulate Paul on his successful career, and thank him for his contributions to Manchester United,” as rhey also said goodbye to Pogba.
But United bosses must be confident that De Jong is the right man, as they won’t want to make the same mistake as they did with Pogba. The Frenchman is leaving United on a free transfer for the second time, after the club re-signed him for a club record fee in 2016.
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They splashed out £89m on him back then, which remains a club record fee. But unfortunately for United, the amount that they have spent on the World Cup winner is much higher than that.
When wages and bonuses are all factored in, £200m has been spent on Pogba since his return back in 2016, and it’s fair to say it’s been a fairly disastrous move. The midfield is a major weak spot in the United team, and it’s an area that Ten Hag has to fix.
De Jong has thrived under Ten Hag before, and he’s been backed to do so again, although he still hasn’t stated that he wants to leave Barcelona. But a reunion with his former boss may still be on the cards anyway, as talks continue to progress.