De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links
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Manchester United have been locked in talks with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong. But with the Catalan giants being prepared to sell Memphis Depay, that gives the Red Devils an interesting window to strike. Erik ten Hag wants a versatile forward and the Netherlands international, this version of him at least, would be worth a punt at a time where Ajax are demanding too much money for Antony.
Manchester United remain in dialogue with Barcelona, even though the two clubs have agreed on a fee for De Jong.
The Red Devils are still confident of landing the 25-year-old, despite claims he’d rather stay at the Nou Camp.
But De Jong isn’t the only player Barcelona are ready to jettison as they look to balance their finances and register new signings.
Depay is also available, just over a year after the Netherlands international was snapped up from Lyon on a free transfer.
The 28-year-old did well enough last term, scoring 12 goals from 28 La Liga matches and also netting once in the Europa League.
But Barcelona’s attacking department, at present, is rather bloated.
Since Depay’s arrival, and back in January, the Catalan titans lured both Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang away from Manchester City and Arsenal respectively.
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And, this summer, Barcelona have continued to splash the cash despite their financial situation.
Raphinha has touched down from Leeds, with the Brazil international rejecting the chance to join Arsenal and Chelsea.
And Robert Lewandowski has moved from Bayern Munich, ending his eight-year stint with the Bundesliga side in the process.
They’ve also managed to keep hold of Ousmane Dembele, with the France international penning a new contract after previously being linked with a move away.
Now, Barcelona are ready to listen to offers for Depay.
It’s believed they want around £20million to let the forward go.
And with United looking for another attacker, regardless of what happens with Cristiano Ronaldo, that means they have a green light to make a move.
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Erik ten Hag would, in an ideal world, snap up Antony from former club Ajax.
Yet the Eredivisie giants are digging their heels in and won’t let the Brazil international go for anything less than £70m.
They’ve already lost Lisandro Martinez to United, with the Argentina international now reunited with Ten Hag at Old Trafford.
They’ve also seen Noussair Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch jump ship to Bayern Munich.
And star striker Sebastien Haller has joined Borussia Dortmund, too.
Therefore, United could be tempted by the prospect of bringing Depay back to the club this summer.
The Netherlands international previously joined the Red Devils back in the summer of 2015, when Louis van Gaal was manager.
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Van Gaal felt his fellow Dutchman could be a huge hit, even potentially an heir to Ronaldo – whose No 7 shirt he took on.
Yet Depay didn’t live up to expectations, toiling for 18 months before leaving for Lyon after Jose Mourinho deemed him surplus to requirements.
Since then, however, he’s rebuilt his career.
Depay was impressive during his time in Ligue 1, netting 76 times during 178 appearances for Lyon.
And that means he’s worth a punt. United need stardust and their old No 7, after developing considerably, can provide exactly that.
With Barcelona open to offers, the Red Devils could be tempted to try and snap him up while also negotiating with their La Liga counterparts for De Jong.
Yet whether Erik ten Hag would approve such a move, currently, is unclear.
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Speaking last summer, meanwhile, Depay opened up on his time at United.
“I’ve thought a lot about why it went wrong. The first season I had to adapt and it didn’t go well compared to my time at PSV,” he said.
“I lost a bit of confidence and I lost the confidence of Van Gaal and his staff.
“It was hard for me. The following season I felt like I had more experience, but they changed the coach.
“Jose Mourinho came and I fought to get into the team but I think the idea of giving me a chance was never in his head. He never gave me an opportunity. Never.
“I went to his office but it changed nothing. It was a very difficult period, I felt that I was training well and the players themselves did not understand it.
“Pogba and Zlatan told me: ‘Why don’t you ever play?’ For me that was the confirmation that I had no chance. And I realised that I didn’t want to be in a big club without playing.”
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