Xavi confident De Jong won't be affected by Man Utd transfer saga
With Frenkie de Jong celebrating his 26th birthday today, it’s time to look at Manchester United’s pursuit of the Barcelona star. Erik ten Hag is set to revive his interest in the midfielder come the end of the season. So Express Sport now takes a look at the situation…
Last summer, United wanted to sign De Jong from Barcelona.
He had been swiftly identified as Ten Hag’s main target, with the pair previously working together at Ajax.
And The Athletic reported that United agreed a fee for the Netherlands international – with the Red Devils prepared to pay an initial £63m with £8.47m in bonuses.
Barcelona were open to cashing in on the player amid a difficult financial period for the club.
But United, despite agreeing a fee, were unable to get the deal over the line.
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Back in January, it emerged United had discussed a deal for De Jong at the end of the current campaign.
It was claimed the Red Devils were confident Ten Hag’s close relationship with the Netherlands international could work in their favour.
And United, while holding these internal discussions, also believed the 26-year-old was keen to come.
De Jong had apparently told Ten Hag he’d have joined United if there wasn’t the issue over his deferred wages – with Barcelona owing their No 21 at the time.
Whether he is indeed open to the possibility of moving to Old Trafford should, however, become clearer in the coming weeks and months.
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Ten Hag reaction
In December, reports said Ten Hag was ‘disappointed’ at missing out on De Jong.
That’s understandable given how United did everything they could in order to land the former Ajax star.
But the silver lining from the failed pursuit was Casemiro arrived instead.
United had originally intended to sign De Jong and then Adrien Rabiot of Juventus, only for fans to protest against a potential deal for the France international.
Yet Casemiro has been an undisputed hit, even if his performance levels have dropped in recent times.
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It was recently announced that Sergio Busquets would be leaving Barcelona at the end of the season.
And Sport say Xavi is counting on De Jong as a replacement for the veteran.
While ‘everything suggests Barcelona will look for a successor to Busquets’, they’re still content with having De Jong on their books.
United could, of course, change everything by putting down an offer too big for the Catalan giants to say no to.
But amid suggestions they won’t be able to spend lavishly, it’ll be interesting to see what happens.
Alternatives for United
Should United miss out on De Jong again, then they’ll have to look at alternatives.
Ryan Gravenberch would be one, with the Bayern Munich star expected to leave following a difficult year at the Allianz Arena.
United have been credited with an interest in Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo, who have been excellent for Brighton this season.
And there’s also been talk of a move for James Maddison as well.
Maddison is primed to leave Leicester and grew up supporting the Red Devils, meaning he’d potentially be open to jumping ship providing an offer comes in.
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