Frenkie de Jong is set to put an end to Manchester United’s protracted pursuit of the Dutch midfielder, according to Paul Hirst.
Frenkie de Jong to Choose Between Barcelona Stay or Chelsea Move
Erik ten Hag: “I am really happy with Cristiano Ronaldo. We have a top striker. He is here with us and is in the squad”. 🚨🔴 #MUFC
“We want Frenkie de Jong? I didn't know! [smiles] It's about the right players but I won’t make comments. When there is news, you will know”. pic.twitter.com/v1bvoDYgtz
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 5, 2022
A Blow for Manchester United Who Must Now Focus On Other Options
Paul Hirst wrote in The Times: “United identified Frenkie de Jong as the ideal player to slot into the holding midfield position, but it now looks likely he will stay at Barcelona or join Chelsea.”
This would leave Manchester United with limited time to push through a move for one of their backup options. These are reported to include Wolves’ Ruben Neves and Leicester’s Youri Tielemens. Chelsea have recently emerged as a potential destination for de Jong, with speculation now gathering pace.
Tielemens is entering the final year of his contract with Leicester City and is said to be looking for a new challenge. Leicester have seemingly always been aware their club was a stepping stone for the creative Belgian. Negotiations have been stalled over a contract extension for a while, with Arsenal also being credited with an interest.
Ruben Neves would be a more expensive option, but with fellow Portuguese internationals Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes already at Old Trafford, there is potentially an existing dynamic and understanding between them. This is something Ten Hag could look to take advantage of while trying to unite a seemingly fractured squad.
Barcelona’s position has not changed throughout this saga. Although a talented player with his peak years ahead of him, De Jong is one of the top earners. Amid financial struggles, he has been identified as a necessary sacrifice. Recent reports have claimed the sale of de Jong is required to enable them to register their new signings.
Why Chelsea Want De Jong
Thomas Tuchel is looking to add depth to his Chelsea squad. Following Romelu Lukaku’s loan move and the expected departure of Timo Werner, he will be looking for players to provide goal contributions that those two failed to deliver.
Raheem Sterling has been signed to help with goals and assists. De Jong is more suited to a deeper lying role, but his passing statistics are impressive and would certainly help in the transition from midfield to attack.