Frenkie de Jong has admitted that he always wanted to stay at Barcelona during the summer.
The Netherlands international was a primary target at Manchester United and the transfer chase went on for over 100 days before Erik ten Hag and John Murtough switched their attention to Casemiro.
United had an agreement in place with Barcelona, but the player was unwilling to leave because Barca owed €17m in deferred wages. It was an incredible complex situation and the transfer saga dragged on for too long.
Speaking to the media ahead of the next round of internationals, De Jong broke his silence on transfer links over the summer. Manchester United were not the only Premier League club interested, with Chelsea also reported as admirers before Thomas Tuchel was sacked.
“I always wanted to stay at Barcelona this summer, and this is why I always remained calm in the summer,” De Jong told reporters ahead of the Netherlands’ fixture against Poland, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News. “I can’t give too many details away.
“But look, the club has its own ideas and I have my own ideas, too, and sometimes these clash with each other. But at the end of the day things went okay.”
De Jong has been substituted in most of the matches he’s played this season and Louis van Gaal suggested he was unhappy with the midfielder’s playing time.
“When I play less, I do notice it,” added De Jong. “Not really in terms of the technical aspect because you still know how to play football, but more so in the physical aspect.”
Getting over the De Jong hangover
It didn’t take long to get over United’s failed pursuit of De Jong because Ten Hag has still been able to settle on a decent midfield that can win football matches.
Christian Eriksen has been a wonderful addition as a free agent and we’ve seen Scott McTominay stand up as one of the squad’s most improved players. The Scotland international is somehow keeping Casemiro out of the team.
That said, I think United will be back in the market for a new midfielder next summer.