Manchester United’s reluctance to negotiate a fee for Frenkie de Jong at the earliest possibility pulled the plug on his proposed transfer from Barcelona, Algemeen Dagblad claim.
De Jong was identified as Erik ten Hag’s priority midfield target, and it is now revealed that the Red Devils’ delay in finalising the transfer hampered their chances of signing him.
According to AD, talks commenced smoothly between United and Barcelona before the international break in June and everything was mentioned including the fee, salary demands and bonuses.
However, the decision makers from above decided to delay in finalising an agreement largely due to doubts arising over the cost of the overall transfer of the 25-year-old.
United are said to have wasted precious time between the end of the international break and the player being on holidays. On his return, De Jong made it clear that he wanted to stay.
Hence, it appears the Red Devils missed out on their top target due to indecisiveness, much to the frustration of Ten Hag, who clearly wanted a reunion with his ex-Ajax star.
Man Utd made to rue for haggling over De Jong’s valuation
Barcelona were prepared to sell De Jong towards the end of last season amid their financial problems, and United had the perfect opportunity to capitalise on the situation.
A deal could have been straightforward, had they decided to meet the transfer demands from the off.
Instead, the hierarchy took time to negotiate on the package. After multiple meetings with Barcelona officials, they eventually agreed on a deal worth €85 million (£73.6m).
The verbal agreement was finalised on July 14, around a month after the international break. By then, De Jong decided to dig in and make it clear that he did not want to leave.
The Catalans were desperate for funds at one stage of the transfer window, but they managed to find the solution by activating as many as four economic levers this summer.
While they were able to register all of their signings and keep De Jong, United were left frustrated, having spent most of the summer transfer window trying to sign the Dutchman.
The Glazers are definitely to blame for the situation as they were trying to land De Jong for a discounted price. It is quite clear that they were funds to spend if they wanted to.
This was eventually on display with the late signings of Casemiro and Antony for a combined €170m. If they had acted better, De Jong could have been a United player today.
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