Manchester United and Barcelona are locked in negotiations for midfielder Frenkie de Jong, with the 25-year-old believed to be Erik ten Hag’s prime target in his first transfer window at United.
United supporters have grown frustrated over the lack of progress made over the deal in the last couple of weeks, with the club’s reputation of dragging out transfers not helping either.
Erik ten Hag’s pre-season preparations begin next week and United are yet to make any transfers, with large focus being placed on securing De Jong’s arrival from Barcelona.
The Catalan club are said to be driving a hard bargain, however, and are not willing to budge on their high valuation. Now, it’s being reported that Barcelona are blaming that on La Liga, who enforce strict financial limitations on their clubs.
That’s according to ESPN, who say that the fierce rules in Spain mean that Barcelona are only authorised to reinvest a third of the money they recoup from the deal.
The club is already under intense scrutiny, having breached their salary cap last year. That costly mistake infamously led to the departure of Lionel Messi, who left the club on a free transfer.
As per the report, Barcelona maintain they want at least £73m from any deal to sell De Jong – which is what they paid for him in 2019. But United have thus far only shown willingness to spend £50-60m upfront.
United’s budget is far from unlimited and they are conscious that spending too much on De Jong could mean that they won’t be able to land their other prime targets.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Barcelona are willing to let De Jong leave this summer but their high valuation of the player could mean that this goes on for quite a while.
As mentioned above, United can’t afford to spend carelessly and thus must recruit within their means. De Jong would be the most expensive signing of the summer and going overboard could seriously impact Ten Hag’s first window.
Had it not been for a number of years with long sagas, the club would have been forgiven for taking their time with this one but now, fans are almost resigned to a similar pursuit each summer. In truth, the De Jong deal is unique from any other.