Erik ten Hag ‘has urged Man United chiefs to stand firm in their pursuit of Frenkie de Jong after talks with the Barcelona star left him confident that a deal can be done’ as the Red Devils try to seal a £63m move for their manager’s No 1 target.
The transfer saga has rumbled on for over three months now, but United remain undeterred in their pursuit of the Dutch international.
De Jong is said to be happy at Barcelona, but the Catalan giants have finances to consider and if they wish to appease LaLiga and register a whole host of new signings, the midfielder would be the logical departure.
A deal that could rise to £72million was tentatively agreed between the two clubs last month. The holdup in the deal is due to an outstanding amount in the region of £17m in back payments owed to De Jong by Barca after deferring payments on his wages during the pandemic.
Despite selling off various TV rights and assets to fund their summer spending spree, Barcelona don’t have the money to pay de Jong back. If they did, they wouldn’t be able to register some of their signings.
According to Diario Sport though, United boss Ten Hag remains calm about the situation and is confident that a deal will happen after privately talking with de Jong.
Quite rightfully, de Jong wants to be paid what he is owed. Barca would like to keep him, but realise that’s an unlikely scenario, so much so that president Joan Laporta has suggested de Jong should take a drastic pay cut if he really wants to stay.
Ten Hag has instructed his team to continue waiting for the situation to resolve itself as Barcelona will have to end up selling.
Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessie, Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde have all joined Barca this summer, but in order to register new players with La Liga, sales must be made.
New United boss ten Hag spoke with his former player to convince the 25-year-old that he should join his project at Old Trafford.
De Jong, who has been played at centre-back for much of Barca’s pre-season, will be United’s ‘conductor of the orchestra’ if he joins, and ten Hag hasn’t been shy about admitted needing a specific player for the role.
The Red Devils certainly seem to be putting all their eggs in the de Jong basket with little talk around who might fill the specific job otherwise. Sergei Milinkovic-Savic has been mentioned, but United need to replace Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.
There’s also the looming worry that someone like Chelsea – who can offer Champions League football – may make a serious bid for de Jong, too.