Manchester United have reportedly told Barcelona that they won’t break the bank to sign Frenkie de Jong this summer.
De Jong has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford to reunite with his former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag.
It’s claimed he would rather stay with the Catalans, but president Joan Laporta has admitted that the club may have no choice to sell some of their prize assets amid the club’s ongoing financial difficulties.
“I don’t know if we will sell important players,” he said. “If we complete some deals, maybe it won’t be needed. The priority is our financial situation. We will do what is best for the club.”
Should they be forced into selling De Jong, it’s thought the player would prefer to move to a Champions League club rather than United, but the Red Devils haven’t given up hope.
Ten Hag is reportedly keen on bringing a striker to the club to replace Edinson Cavani, with Benfica’s Darwin Nunez a target, while he may also look to strengthen his defence amid speculation he could raid Ajax for Jurrien Timber or Lisandro Martinez.
But central midfield remains a priority and De Jong appears still to be the main target.
According to the Daily Mail, Barcelona want to recoup the £65m they paid for De Jong three years ago, but United have told them they will not blow the majority of Ten Hag’s transfer budget on one player.
The report states that ‘a compromise remains some way off’ and that ‘United made it clear to Barca and De Jong’s representatives that they cannot commit such a slice of their transfer funds’.
He said: “I’ve always thought he was a top player. I watched him closely in the Champions League semi-final year, I got to see a lot of him as part of the BT team.
“They’re saying Frenkie de Jong could be the first player to come in under Erik ten Hag and I would be saying ‘yes, great signing’.
“He’s not huge in terms of frame but he is quick with the ball, really good dribbler, can get out of tight situations, makes good decisions, good passer, his balance and dribbling ability are really good.
“[Man United] are a team who are looking for players who can control the ball and control the game and get the team functioning in terms of balance and possession, I think he would be a good addition.
“He’s not a player who scores loads of goals like Bruno Fernandes, but he’s more about dictating the game.
“He gives you much more other elements in the game that United need.”