Erik ten Hag is keen for Frenkie De Jong to join him in his new project with Man Utd at Old Trafford and feels a deal can be done quickly as negotiations with Barcelona appear promisin
Manchester United are reportedly confident they can strike an agreement with Barcelona this week for the transfer of midfielder Frenkie De Jong.
The Dutchman, 25, is top of United’s shortlist of targets this summer with new boss Erik ten Hag keen to link back up with his former player at Old Trafford. De Jong was a key player under Ten Hag during their time together at Ajax.
Barcelona slapped a hefty price tag on De Jong, whom they signed for an initial £65million in 2019. He has been a key figure under current manager Xavi at the Nou Camp, but Barcelona are under increased pressure to sell in order to raise some cash for their own transfer targets.
Ten Hag sees De Jong as a vital cog in his project at United and is prepared to spend the bulk of his transfer kitty on making him a central part of his plans. Despite De Jong’s recent comments insisting that he was “happy” at Barcelona, the prospect of moving to the Premier League has given him food for thought.
Whilst Barcelona would be reluctant to see him go, they already possess a wealth of talent in the central midfield areas. Sergio Busquets remains a senior figure at the base of Barca’s midfield – the position De Jong prefers to operate and where he would likely feature under Ten Hag at United.
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Due to Busquets’ involvement, De Jong is often utilised in one of the more advanced roles in Barca’s midfield but has struggled to hit the heights expected of him since his move, albeit during a period of upheaval and uncertainty at the club.
The presence and prominence of La Masia academy
n Utd confident of imminent Frenkie De Jong transfer breakthrough amid Barcelona talks
graduates Pedri and Gavi also threaten De Jong’s place in Barca’s midfield, given both are seen as the future of the club, let alone if Xavi opts to bring in extra competition this summer. While 33-year-old Busquets is not a long-term option, selling De Jong would give Barcelona more options in the transfer market now while Xavi’s rebuild is at a critical phase.
United are keen to get moving on a transfer, though, and neither club are interested in a long, drawn-out saga. Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Bayern Munich have all been touted as having an interest in De Jong, but it is United who are willing to stump up the cash that would see Barca recoup what they spent to bring the young talent from Ajax.
De Jong played down reports of his exit recently, telling reporters: “I have enough confidence in myself [to be a success at Barcelona]. I am not afraid. I recently spoke extensively with the trainer [Xavi]. That was a very good conversation.
“I will not go into that [the links to United]. Not even about other names or clubs. I used to be naive and open-minded about it. I don’t do that anymore. I understand that that link is made. That sum is not that difficult, it is logical. I have enjoyed working with Ten Hag at Ajax – and I can’t look into the future, of course. But I prefer to stay at Barcelona.