Manchester United’s pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has entered a decisive phase, Spanish publication AS (today’s edition, page 10) report.
The Red Devils have earmarked De Jong as their top priority for the summer, and manager Erik ten Hag has already held talks to convince him over a transfer.
While the player is no longer a stumbling block, United still need to negotiate a suitable transfer fee with the Catalan giants which may not be straightforward.
According to AS, De Jong’s sale is entering a ‘decisive phase’. The Blaugrana appear to be preparing for his exit. Carlos Soler has been identified as a potential replacement.
The Spanish club ideally prefer to sanction De Jong’s departure before the financial year closes on June 30, but are unlikely to let him go on the cheap for that reason.
Meanwhile, Sport claim that United have failed with an opening bid of €60 million plus €10m in add-ons for De Jong. Their offer is far apart from the €100m asking price.
However, the publication gives hope of United signing him for less. It is reported that a fixed fee of around €80m plus added variables could seal the transfer deal.
De Jong has largely operated in central midfield for Barcelona where his performances have been inconsistent. He has personally acknowledged that he prefers to feature from the number six position.
This is where Ten Hag intends to play him. The 52-year-old previously worked with De Jong at Ajax where the midfielder was hugely successful from the role. A reunion could be ideal for both De Jong and United.
The 25-year-old will once again get the opportunity to operate in front of the defence. Meanwhile, United will have someone, who is excellent with his distribution, ball control and can dribble his way forward.
His qualities will come with a premium price, but United still seem determined to not overpay for his services. A fixed payment of €80m up front could reduce a big portion of their summer transfer budget.
United may obviously want to lower the transfer sum, and the next few days could be key. If Barcelona are reluctant to negotiate, there are suggestions that the club could walk away from the potential deal.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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