Chelsea are reportedly in direct talks with Barcelona over Frenkie de Jong and fancy their chances of beating Manchester United to the midfielder.
The Red Devils have made the Netherlands star their firm midfield target in this summer’s transfer window. While Erik ten Hag has already bolstered his midfield with Christian Eriksen, he knows he needs further additions.
And after working with De Jong at Ajax, the new United boss wants to reunite with the midfielder.
However, Man Utd have so far struggled to get a deal over the line. They have agreed a fee with Barcelona, but De Jong does not want to move to Old Trafford. The deferred wages that Barcelona owe him are also a problem.
Previous reports have instead indicated that De Jong would instead be open to moving to Chelsea and London. And there have been murmurings of Blues interest.
According to The Athletic, Chelsea are now in direct talks with Barcelona over a deal for the 25-year-old.
What’s more, they are reportedly ‘optimistic’ of going where United have not by convincing the player to leave.
Chelsea are also bolstering their midfield this summer, with Aston Villa’s Carney Chukwuemeka. But owner Todd Boehly – who is for now also acting as the club’s sporting director – wants more additions.
And Man Utd are therefore considering alternatives for if De Jong does go elsewhere.
Man Utd eye De Jong alternatives amid Chelsea push
The Red Devils have Wolves’ Ruben Neves – who is a long-term target – and Leicester’s Youri Tielemans on their radar.
Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claims that United are actively considering contingency plans.
Indeed, Ten Hag would rather get De Jong and he is the Old Trafford club’s priority.
Tielemans has one year left on his contract and has been linked with Arsenal. Neves has also had links with Arsenal and has impressed after leading Wolves into the Premier League.
Chelsea need midfielders too
Amid all the talk of United needing midfielders, Chelsea are in need of reinforcements in that area too.
They have of course brought in Chukwuemeka, while Conor Gallagher is back from his loan spell at Crystal Palace.
Frenkie de Jong doesn't want Man Utd move
Frenkie de Jong has reportedly told Erik ten Hag he doesn’t want to join Manchester United.
But Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic are all 28 or over and Kovacic has the longest contract – but still only two years.
Chelsea could of course tie all three down to new deals, but they will ultimately have to strengthen at some point and stealing De Jong away from Man Utd would be an eye-catching prospect.