Frenkie de Jong has emerged as this summer’s transfer saga, with Jadon Sancho relinquishing his crown from last year. The 25-year-old’s future at Barcelona is uncertain and United remain in talks with the Catalan club over a deal.
De Jong is Erik ten Hag’s prime target to reinforce the midfield this summer, with several senior figures in that area set to leave the club at the end of this month.
United have had an initial €60m bid for the midfielder rejected, with Barcelona demanding €85m to sanction his sale. That’s according to The Guardian, who add that United could go back in with an improved bid of €70m.
As per the report, there remains a gap in the two clubs’ valuation of De Jong but there is confidence from United that Barcelona will lower their asking price.
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Furthermore, United are said to be aware of Barcelona’s difficult financial situation and that it will, eventually, force the club into selling De Jong. According to the statistical website Transfermarkt, De Jong is the club’s second most valuable player, with midfield compatriot Pedri the only player worth more.
United have made a habit of prolonging transfers but they could be forgiven for taking their time with this one, with their transfer budget being far from unlimited this year.
The lack of Champions League revenue will have dented their ability to spend freely and Barcelona’s need for money should drive the price down.
United fans, in general, are impatient but there is a growing feeling that a deal will get done eventually. Ten Hag will be desperate for that to happen before the full squad is together for pre-season.
The first group of players, who were not involved in international football, will return on June 27. The other group are due back in July.