Erik ten Hag is keen to strengthen his midfield options with the signing of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong although the Red Devils have indicated their stance over the fee for the player
Manchester United have vowed they will not be used as Barcelona’s “financial bail-out” in their pursuit of Frenkie de Jong.
United have had a £60million offer for Dutch midfielder De Jong turned down by Barca. Newly-appointed United boss Erik ten Hag is keen to make his former Ajax midfielder De Jong the first signing of his Old Trafford squad rebuild during the summer transfer window.
But United are adamant they will not be held to ransom by the Catalan club who have placed a value on 25-year-old De Jong close to £70m and are preparing to hold out for a fee around that mark.
United are expected to make an improved bid for De Jong, but that is likely to fall short of Barca’s valuation, with the Reds determined not to be forced to pay top whack.
A United source said: “As much as De Jong is a player the club and Ten Hag admires, they’re not prepared to be Barcelona’s financial bail-out.” De Jong was initially reluctant to reunite with ten Hag at United, because of their inability to offer him Champions League football, but is said to be ready to make the move.
But De Jong knows how keen Barca are to offload him to raise funds to address their financial crisis and has now got his head around leaving the Nou Camp. Personal terms of around £250,000-a-week will not be an issue for United and De Jong, who is expected to become ten Hag’s first signing once a compromised fee can be agreed with Barca. Ten Hag’s first game at Old Trafford will be a pre-season friendly against Spanish side Rayo Vallecano on July 31, six days before the start of the new Premier League campaign.
De Jong is one of United’s top transfer targets and they’re hoping to sign him ahead of their pre-season tour to Asia and Australia. Barcelona are reportedly willing to let him leave – for the right price – and Ten Hag is said to be confident of completing a deal. “Are you leaving the Catalan beaches for the cold of Manchester?” a reporter asked De Jong on Saturday. The midfielder laughed and replied: “I can’t say anything.”
HAVE YOUR SAY! Would De Jong be a good fit at United? Let us know in the comments section
Meanwhile, United duo Marcus Rashford and Jason Sancho have been told they “have a lot to do” to get back into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup. Rashford and Sancho have not been in the last two England squads and are running out of time to get their places back for Qatar. United left-back Luke Shaw is also in a similar position after falling out of favor under Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford but also missed the end of the season through injury
England boss Southgate was asked about whether United being out of the Champions League would ease the workload, but replied: “They’ve got a lot to do to get back in the squad. We’ve only got one [Harry Maguire] with us! Well, look, I think the lower the load then of course the less likely for injuries and the hope that players can be that little bit sharper but there’s no way of knowing.
“Some players are at their best when they’re in a rhythm of playing and you talk to some of our lads now and they want to play every game because that’s how they feel they get to their best level. Others need the breaks, they need longer recovery between the matches to be at their best.”