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Chelsea negotiating directly with Barcelona for Man Utd target Frenkie de Jong

Premier League rivals Chelsea have started negotiating directly with Barcelona for Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong, Spanish publication Sport claim (today’s edition, page 3).

The Red Devils recently reached an agreement with the Blaugrana to land the former Ajax star, but the player has yet to accept personal terms over the transfer.

United believe he would give the ‘OK‘ for the move once his deferred wages are settled, but The Athletic recently said that he is eyeing Champions League football.

Amidst this, it is now reported that the Blues have opened direct negotiations with the Catalan giants for the 25-year-old under the recommendation of Thomas Tuchel.

The west London outfit have been monitoring United’s pursuit from afar, but the Dutchman is now regarded as a priority for the Blues manager this summer.

Barcelona want a minimum €80m guaranteed from Chelsea for the player. They are prepared to sign Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta from them in separate deals.

United face potential stumbling block with Chelsea’s formal interest

Just yesterday, Sport said that United are still convinced of signing the ball-playing midfielder knowing that there has not been an approach from any other club.

However, the scenario has somewhat changed with Chelsea joining the hunt. They have one big advantage over United as they can offer Champions League football.

That has been highlighted as De Jong’s priority on numerous occasions throughout the summer, and United now have a battle on their hands to land his signature.

Ten Hag has already spoken to the player to know his situation. The midfielder has no plans of leaving the Blaugrana until he finds a resolution over his deferred wages.

United have been prepared to play the long game to sign him, but Chelsea’s entry onto the scene could scupper their plans. Hopefully, Ten Hag can persuade De Jong.

The Dutch tactician brought the best out of the midfielder when they were together at Ajax. De Jong excelled from the deep-lying role which is his preferred position.

At Barcelona, he has been forced to play as a number eight instead due to Sergi Busquets. The latter has been the regular choice for the defensive midfield spot.

At United, he would have the chance to make the position his own while playing under a manager he is familiar with. It could still be a driving factor to lure him to the club.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com