Barcelona ‘want two players’ in midfield swap amid Man Utd’s plan to sign Frenkie de Jong

New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is prioritizing a move for the former Ajax star and Barcelona have set the conditions for a sale with targets identified

Manchester United remain upbeat on their chances of signing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong this summer with the Blaugrana identifying two Manchester City stars as their replacements.

Former Ajax star De Jong is a top transfer priority for new United boss Erik ten Hag and there has been a phone call between the two already held in which the coach outlined the role the player would enjoy under him at the Red Devils.

Central midfield is an area in which United need to bolster their options ahead of several key departures this term. De Jong has been identified as the leading candidate for the club in the position and the Dutchman is at the top of United’s shortlist of summer transfer targets.

Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard are among the plethora of Old Trafford exits this summer – freeing up a budget to identity and sign key Ten Hag targets. Only Donny van de Beek, Fred and Scott McTominay are senior recognized midfielders in the current ranks although Andreas Pereira and James Garner are both returning from loan stints away.

The potential deal to take De Jong to United is based primarily in Barca’s financial need to sell a high value player before investing in their squad this summer. With Pedri, Gavi, Sergio Busquets and the incoming Franck Kessie in the position, De Jong is their one high-value player who can be seen as dispensable within their squad.

Barca will aim to recover the majority of the transfer fee they paid Ajax in 2019 for the midfielder, reported to be £77million – although United believe a deal can be done for closer to £68million. The Catalan club already know what they will do with the money with local media claiming they will raid Manchester City for two players.

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Ilkay Gundogan has been a key player for Man City over six seasons but is out of contract next year

Ilkay Gundogan is a key target for Barca with a fresh report from radio station Cadena Ser, via Diario Sport, claiming that they are confidant of a deal for the German international this summer. Gundogan is out of contract at City in the summer of 2023 and is said to have ruled out a contract extension at the Etihad, with his ‘dream’ to play for Barca.

Gundogan has been a key player for City since joining in the summer of 2016, the same year that Pep Guardiola arrived at the Etihad. He has netted 49 goals in that time period – including 27 across the past two seasons – and has won four Premier League titles at the club.

He’s not the only City star of interest to the Blaugrana, with Bernardo Silva also understood to be a top target for Xavi Hernandez. If De Jong departs, then Xavi will make a push to land the Portuguese star – himself interested in a move to La Liga with the Catalan giants. This is a deal which would be more complicated due to Silva’s role at City and reports claim that they would only consider mammoth offers which Barca are unlikely to be able to finance anytime soon, even if they sell De Jong.

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