Barcelona don’t want Frenkie de Jong to stay and would prefer for the Manchester United target to leave this summer, according to reports. The Red Devils have agreed to pay £56million up front for the Netherlands international. However, despite that, the player’s move to the Premier League is very much hanging in the balance.
Barcelona see selling De Jong as a way to balance their finances, with the La Liga giants determined to sort their affairs by the end of June.
United have spent the last few weeks negotiating hard with their Catalan counterparts, with manager Erik ten Hag eager for the club to get this deal over the line.
There have, however, been suggestions De Jong could actually end up staying at Barcelona.
It’s been reported on Wednesday that the 25-year-old has informed both United and Barcelona that he doesn’t intend to change clubs, with the midfielder eager to become a Nou Camp legend.
Yet while that appears to be the case, Mundo Deportivo claim Barcelona are still hoping the player will leave.
He’s been deemed surplus to requirements in the wake of Pedri and Gavi’s improved form, with the pair very much the future of the club.
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Yet De Jong has so far ‘been resisting’ Barcelona’s efforts to get him off the books no matter how much United want him.
United, and Ten Hag, are said to be continuing to ‘press’ the midfielder that his future lies at Old Trafford.
But if a move to the Premier League doesn’t pay off, then it seems like Barcelona will have to come up with another way to raise money.
Barcelona are hoping to save around £16m by getting De Jong off their wage bill, with the former Ajax star one of their highest-earners.
And United, it appears, still have plenty of work to do before they can get this deal over the line.
Should the Red Devils fail in their mission to sign De Jong, it’s feasible they’ll turn their attentions to alternatives instead.
Youri Tielemans has admirers at the club and, with his Leicester contract due to expire next summer, could be sold for the right price.
United have longstanding interest in Declan Rice and Ruben Neves, who have been consistent over the past year for West Ham and Wolves respectively.
And links to Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic have been ongoing for years, ever since Jose Mourinho failed to land the midfielder back in the summer transfer window of 2018.
De Jong isn’t the only target United are pursuing at the current moment in time, either.
They’re on the prowl for Christian Eriksen, who is currently a free agent in the wake of the expiry of his Brentford contract.
The Dane could yet stay at the Community Stadium, however, with Thomas Frank eager to keep the 30-year-old for another year.
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United are eyeing Ajax pair Lisandro Martinez and Antony, too.
But deals for the duo won’t be straightforward, with Arsenal and Tottenham also interested in acquiring the pair.
Regarding De Jong, meanwhile, former United star Luke Chadwick recently endorsed his old side’s pursuit of the Barcelona star.
“I definitely think the club should go for someone like De Jong. United need new options in the middle of the pitch, and he’s a hugely gifted player,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside.
“We’re not privy to his situation or everything that’s being said behind closed doors, but it does seem like every Ajax player past and present is being linked with United since Ten Hag got the job.
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“I’m sure those Dutch players in that incredible team that Ten Hag built at Ajax would relish the opportunity to work with him again.
“I’m sure someone like De Jong would at least want the opportunity to speak to the club.
“He fits the profile, he’s a completely different character to Pogba in terms of how he conducts himself off the pitch.
“In my eyes, looking at the player, but not knowing the entire situation, admittedly, I think United should go for him.
“I think he should be considered because of what he did at Ajax under Ten Hag previously.”