Manchester United Are Keen to Secure Frenkie de Jong This Transfer Window
Erik ten Hag Has Backup Options Prepared
Fabrizio Romano issued an update on the ongoing saga, saying: “I honestly don’t know how long Manchester United will insist on pursuing Frenkie de Jong.
“As it stands, they’ve not given up and they will keep pushing to sign the Dutch international.”
Romano also confirmed the Manchester side’s alternatives to De Jong, should the negotiations fail. He added: “The alternatives to De Jong have been on Manchester United’s list for months, in Ruben Neves and Youri Tielemans, but they are yet to make an approach for either player as De Jong is still their priority.
“Nothing has changed at the moment, with De Jong still trying to stay in Barcelona.”
Manchester United have reached full agreement with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong, after further talks. Package worth €85m. Fee guaranteed around €75m plus add-ons. 🚨🇳🇱 #MUFC
Personal terms, still the issue to be resolved – as Frenkie’s priority is to stay at Barcelona. pic.twitter.com/aTYnV3cHkP
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 14, 2022
De Jong Still Adamant on Staying in Spain
The 25-year-old has made his priority clear since negotiations began; he wants to remain a Barcelona player for the forthcoming season. The two clubs involved agreed a fee for De Jong on July 14, but personal terms have since been the stalling factor.
Despite having a positive history with United manager Erik ten Hag, as the two worked together throughout their time at Ajax, it was United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League that has made De Jong hesitant to join the club.
However, the Catalan club could push De Jong into a transfer away if he refuses to accept a salary reduction, whereas the player’s agents are not entertaining talks with Barcelona involving a pay cut.
Joan Laporta, the club’s president, said: “I’m going to do everything to keep Frenkie, but there’s also a salary issue and that would have to be adjusted.”
Barça president Laporta on de Jong: “There are many clubs that want him, not just Man United. We have no intention of selling him, he wants to stay”. 🚨 #FCB
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 2, 2022
Plan B and C
Ruben Neves and Youri Tielemans provide similar experience and are the same age as De Jong. Both players are Premier League and internationally proven and have been rumoured to be looking for new challenges over the summer.
The cheaper option would be Tielemans. The Belgium international has only one year left on his contract at Leicester City and talks regarding an extension have stalled. Last season, the midfielder played 32 league games, contributing six goals and four assists. In the 2021 FA Cup final, he netted a stunning strike that saw Leicester win the trophy for the first time in their history. Tielemans was named Man of the Match.
A factor that could make Neves the preferred option is that he has experience of playing with United stars Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo, whilst representing their national side Portugal.
Neves is contracted to Wolverhampton Wanderers until 2024, but if Ten Hag acknowledges the successful dynamic between the Portuguese players, it may be worth paying the asking fee.
When Do United Walk Away From de Jong?
The Barcelona midfielder has been linked to United since the beginning of the transfer window and it appears as though De Jong is still reluctant to join the Reds.
With the Premier League 2022/23 campaign kicking off on Friday, August 5, is it worth Ten Hag spending the first weeks of the season trying to convince a hesitant player?
The alternatives named are both experienced and versatile players who are able to walk right into United’s starting line-up. If United’s board turn their attention to Tielemans and Neves now, they could oversee a deal sooner with players that may be more open to a move to Old Trafford.