One of Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea have received encouragement over signing Frenkie de Jong, potentially as early as January, while a transfer Arsenal ultimately avoided making has been branded a lucky escape.
FRENKIE DE JONG RECONSIDERS PREM TRANSFER
One of Frenkie de Jong’s three English suitors have ‘received encouragement’ over a January transfer, and a winter move would come at just the right time for the named club, per a report.
The 25-year-old Dutchman was the subject of a drawn-out transfer saga last summer.
De Jong was chased by Erik ten Hag who earmarked him as the perfect player to run his new midfield at Old Trafford.
However, despite agreeing a deal worth around £72m with Barcelona, the player refused to budge.
De Jong opted to stay in Catalonia where he is settled. Fabrizio Romano later reported Premier League interest in De Jong remains, though a deal can’t happen unless De Jong softens his stance. According to ESPN, that may have just happened.
Chelsea get word on De Jong
They report the midfield maestro ‘may be willing to reconsider his future’ amid two factors. What’s more, it’s claimed Chelsea specifically are believed to have ‘received encouragement’ over the player now being on board with a move.
De Jong continues to be overlooked by Xavi for many of Barcelona’s biggest fixtures. Additionally, their impending Champions League exit is another factor behind his outlook changing.
The report reaffirms all three of Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool are interested. United and Chelsea pursued De Jong last summer, while Liverpool have reportedly ‘made contact with De Jong’s representatives’ since then.
However, it’s the Blues who are named as having received a hint De Jong is now available to buy. What’s more, a deal in January could come at just the right time.
Both N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are out of contract in 2023. The desire to retain Kante is strong, though yet another injury will cast doubts over whether handing the Frenchman a long-term deal is wise. Kante recently underwent surgery on a hamstring injury that has ruled him out of the World Cup and beyond.
ESPN note part-Blues owner, Todd Boehly, is keen to refresh a squad that is ageing in certain areas. Midfield is one, and he already has a good relationship with those that represent De Jong – HCM Sports Management.
Any concerns over whether De Jong has declined over the last few months amid fleeting gametime were put to bed in midweek.
He put in a masterful display when finally given a chance to play against Villarreal, though opportunities since his aborted summer move has been in curiously short supply.
Barcelona are understood to still want to cash in on De Jong. What’s more, the Daily Mail recently revealed three factors that make Barcelona even more desperate than ever to sell.
If De Jong’s stance on a move truly has shifted, we could see him in the Premier League – potentially at Stamford Bridge – in early 2023.
ARSENAL’S LUCKY ESCAPE?
An aborted Arsenal transfer has been branded a lucky escape following confirmation the Gunners tried to sign an ex-Rangers stand-out last summer.
Despite finally giving William Saliba his long-awaited chance, Arsenal did try to sign a new centre-half last window.
They competed with Man Utd for Lisandro Martinez, but the lure of reuniting with Ten Hag proved too strong.
According to the Daily Mirror, the Gunners also put the wheels in motion over signing former Rangers ace, Calvin Bassey.
The 22-year-old shone during Rangers’ march to the Europa League final last year. Capable of also operating at left-back, Bassey became a key transfer target at the Emirates, though they weren’t the only Premier League side eyeing a move.
Speaking to OwnGoalNigeria, a representative of Bassey’s agency – Unique Sports Group – is quoted as saying: “Arsenal contacted us and we let Rangers know, but they did not follow up.
“We also had interest from Aston Villa and West Ham, but in the end, Ajax presented the best offer not in terms of money, but for his development as they promised regular employment.”
Bassey struggles on biggest stage
Bassey ultimately joined Ajax in a deal worth £19.6m. However, despite a series of encouraging early displays, his performances have recently come under fire.
The catalyst behind the dissent was Ajax’s crushing defeats to Napoli in the Champions League. The Dutch side lost the home leg 6-1 and the away tie 4-2. Bassey started in both and covered at left-back at times to allow Daley Blind to play centrally.
Via the Mirror, Dutch legend, Ruud Gullit, has lambasted that decision, while the newspaper have branded Arsenal’s near miss a lucky escape.
Given Arsenal currently top the Premier League table and have conceded the second fewest goals, missing out on Bassey has clearly not been a negative.
“It sometimes seems like he has to play (Blind),” Gullit said of Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder.
“It seems that everything is being turned to make him play. That’s how I see it. At one point I saw that he was back in the centre against Napoli, so that Calvin Bassey suddenly had to play as left-back.”
He added: “Blind is one of the best players on the ball, but defensively… It’s hard for him right now. It seems like a place has to be created for him. It seems that way.”