Manchester United need to pay €80 million (£68m) up front to sign Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong this summer, Spanish outlet Sport (today’s edition, page 2) claims.
The Red Devils have made it a priority to sign the Netherlands international, and it has been reported that they are already in talks with the Blaugrana to sign him.
It is now revealed that the Catalan giants have turned down their opening offer of €60m plus €20m in add-ons, and prefer a one-time payment of €80m.
De Jong is resigned to leaving the club this summer amid their financial concerns, but Sport emphasise that United are not necessarily favourites for him.
They have been tipped to sign him for plenty of weeks, but Bayern Munich, Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain could enter the transfer pursuit.
All three clubs were interested in De Jong during his time at Ajax. Their presence in the Champions League next season could reportedly ‘seduce’ him.
United manager Erik ten Hag is keen on a reunion with his former Ajax player. There are no surprises, given De Jong’s immense success under him at the Eredivisie outfit.
De Jong generally tended to operate in front of the defence, and he was lauded for his ability to win regular duels while initiating counter-attacks with his superb distribution.
At Barcelona, he has not got the opportunity to play in his preferred number eight role with the presence of Sergio Busquets. A move to Old Trafford could be ideal for him.
We recently saw his class in Netherlands’ winner over Wales in the Nations League where he outmuscled a couple of midfielders with his lung-bursting run before delivering a key pass.
That is something United have lacked in their squad. When it comes to the Premier League, Declan Rice has impressed with a similar attribute, but he is seemingly out of United’s budget.
United can’t afford to haggle over the final valuation and need to seal a deal quickly. A reunion with Ten Hag would be tempting for De Jong, but the midfielder also has his sights on Champions League football.
The last thing United would want is to prolong negotiations over the transfer fee, only for Bayern, Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain to hijack the move at the final hurdle.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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