De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links
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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has told the club’s hierarchy to keep pressing for the signing of Frenkie de Jong, according to reports. The Barcelona star is reluctant to leave the Nou Camp, despite the La Liga giants’ desire to jettison him. However, there’s still a chance he’ll make a blockbuster move to Old Trafford this summer.
Manchester United quickly identified De Jong as a priority target at Old Trafford following the appointment of Ten Hag as manager.
But, despite agreeing a £63million fee with Barcelona for the 25-year-old, the Red Devils are yet to land their man.
De Jong has now jetted out to the United States for Barca’s pre-season tour, with the Netherlands international determined to stay with the team.
Yet the Daily Mirror say that, behind the scenes, Ten Hag has told United negotiators to ‘keep pressing for the deal to happen’.
Weeks ago, the 52-year-old said to the United board that he didn’t want the club’s chase of De Jong to become a ‘protracted transfer saga lasting all summer’.
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Yet the Red Devils manager is ready to play the long game as he waits for a reunion with a player he previously managed at Ajax.
Ten Hag is convinced De Jong can help United close the gap on their rivals with his ‘ability to dictate midfield tempo’.
And though Ten Hag knows it’s a gamble to wait, the Dutchman thinks the 25-year-old is worth the wait.
Barcelona, for their part, need to trim their wage bill.
They’re desperate to balance their finances, with the club still paying the price for Josep Maria Bartomeu’s stint as club president.
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Under Bartomeu, Barcelona wasted millions with bumper deals for the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann.
And they need to get rid of De Jong so they can register some of their new singings.
They’ve snapped up Raphinha from Leeds, beating Arsenal and Chelsea to the signing of the Brazil international.
Andreas Christensen has left Stamford Bridge for the Nou Camp, despite being a regular during Thomas Tuchel’s stint in the dugout.
AC Milan have lost Franck Kessie to Barcelona, just weeks after they won a first Scudetto since 2011 – back when Massimiliano Allegri was manager.
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And Barcelona will be landing Robert Lewandowski, too, with the Poland international set to join from Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile, regarding De Jong, former United star Wes Brown recently expressed a belief the former Ajax star would be ‘able to handle the badge’ at Old Trafford.
He said: “He [De Jong] is a quality player, he will be able to handle the badge, the main thing is ‘can we get it done’.
“We don’t want to be rushing it but we have let four midfielders go; Pogba, Jesse, Mata, Matic so we do need players in that area, it’s as simple as that.
“I think he would be a quality signing and Eriksen as well.
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“He’s come back to Brentford and you see the quality straight away, his assists, he was setting up a lot of goals.
“He is a player that quite a few clubs will be after him. Hopefully I think he’d be a great addition, he’d love it here as well, the fans would love him.
“Even me as a fan I think it would be a very good signing.”
United have since managed to sign Christian Eriksen, with the Dane joining on a free.
Whether De Jong follows him to Manchester, however, is yet to be determined.
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