Manchester United have been dealt a heavy blow in their pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong. The 25-year-old was identified as Erik ten Hag’s prime target earlier this summer and much of United’s transfer activity has centered around the Dutchman joining.
With just three days remaining before they kick off their Premier League campaign against Brighton, completing a deal for De Jong is believed to be far from done and now, it seems like there is trouble brewing.
According to The Times, rivals Chelsea are now frontrunners to sign De Jong, with the former Ajax star believed to favour a move to the London club due to the prospect of Champions League football.
As per the report, De Jong’s agent is due to meet with Barcelona and the player is reluctant to make a move to Old Trafford, where he would have to play in the Europa League for at least one season.
Make no mistake about it – anything other than De Jong ending up at Old Trafford is embarrassing for the club’s hierarchy. Valuable months have been spent trying to seal his arrival and the possibility of him joining Chelsea, which is looking increasingly likely at this point, is sickening for supporters.
We are just over 72 hours from the first Premier League game of the season and no signings have been made to bolster United’s deep-lying midfield.
Ten Hag will be worried about that and if De Jong doesn’t join, the club must make sure that alternatives have been lined up.