Manchester United’s pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has dragged on for over two months and with less than two weeks remaining before the Premier League curtain-raiser against Brighton, it’s looking like Erik ten Hag’s prime target is slipping away.
De Jong is currently on Barcelona’s tour of the United States and United have been shown no encouragement that the 25-year-old is keen on a move to the club, despite United agreeing a fee with the Catalan outfit.
An issue with De Jong’s deferred wages, believed to be £17m in owed payments to the player by the club, is holding up a deal as things stand.
But the latest update has thrown that into doubt, with The Athletic claiming that even if that issue is solved, there is no guarantee De Jong would join United.
As per the report, a move to Old Trafford is still not an attractive prospect for De Jong. The 25-year-old’s relationship with Ten Hag has also been downplayed, with the pair not sharing a ‘particularly special’ bond.
Furthermore, it’s claimed that De Jong is likely to harbour the same doubts as Cristiano Ronaldo, who is asking to leave the club due to the lack of Champions League football.
Ten Hag’s list of midfielders capable of playing in the deepest position is short and there are reasons to believe that De Jong is the only player on the list. We’ve reached a point where that has to change.
Evidently, a deal is proving to be difficult and United’s confidence was misplaced. Two months have been wasted and the area that has been in need of urgent surgery for several years is still to be addressed.
There are other midfielders out there and it’s about time United move on. One thing’s for sure – they cannot afford to end the window without signing another midfielder.