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Man Utd closest to signing Frenkie de Jong but deal far from agreed

Manchester United are closest to signing midfielder Frenkie de Jong this summer, but they have yet to reach a suitable agreement with Barcelona, Spanish outlet Sport reveal (today’s edition, page 6).

The Red Devils have been in regular negotiations with the Blaugrana over the past month. It was recently claimed that they have agreed on the fixed fee of €65m (£56m) but still need to negotiate on add-ons (€20m).

However, this has been dismissed by Sport, who insist that the Blaugrana are looking for at least €80m (£69m) up front for the Dutchman. While United are the ‘closest’ to signing him, Chelsea are also mentioned.

The Blues have yet to make an approach for the Netherlands international, but it is suggested that the Catalan giants are looking for a bidding battle such that they can recoup their desired fee for De Jong.

United boss Erik ten Hag and De Jong obviously have a good relationship from their time together at Ajax, but it is claimed that Chelsea could yet lure the midfielder with his desire to play in the Champions League.

Our view:

Earlier last month, it was suggested that the transfer could be finalised by June 30 as Barcelona may look to balance their books. However, the scenario has changed with the approval of economic levers.

The club recently received around £178 million from Sixth Street after selling 10 per cent of their TV rights for the next 25 years. This has helped them negate some of their losses, making them less desperate to sell.

Hence, they are prepared to play the waiting game on De Jong. United have been the only club in negotiations to land De Jong, but the Catalans appear to be inviting bids from elsewhere such that their valuation is met.

Chelsea have already failed to hijack Richarlison’s move to Tottenham Hotspur this summer. They recently jumped ahead of Arsenal in the pursuit of Leeds United’s Raphinha, but a deal has not materialised thus far.

Hence, United need to be wary of the Blues. They would not want to agree a fee for De Jong only for the Blues to make an improved bid. The board need to act fast to avoid De Jong slipping from their grasp at the final hurdle.

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