Talks over the past few hours have been productive in the attempts to make Frenkie de Jong a Manchester United player, according to reports.
Erik ten Hag eagerly wants to sign De Jong from Barcelona, after previously coaching the midfielder at Ajax. Manchester United need at least one new midfielder after the exits of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata.
It has been taking them some time to convince De Jong to leave Barcelona. However, the La Liga side do not have too many problems in pushing him away. There are other options in their midfield, so his sale could balance the books.
They have been holding out for the right price, though – and it seems they are finally close to accepting something from Manchester United.
According to Sport, there have been positive conversations in recent hours. Man Utd are “entirely optimistic” that they will be able to sign De Jong next week as a result.
They are close to meeting Barcelona’s asking price in the region of €80m (£68.9m). Ten Hag has been “pressing” his new employers to get a deal over the line for the 25-year-old.
In response, United have ended their initial approach of trying to secure a lowball deal for De Jong. Now, they are much closer to matching Barcelona’s demands.
Then, there will be one final push to persuade De Jong himself. They are willing to give him a five-year contract, which would be on a higher salary than what he currently takes home at Barcelona.
Before entering those specific negotiations, De Jong wants the two clubs to have reached an agreement. On that front, it seems there has been positive progress.
Hence, it could only be a matter of time before the Dutchman gets involved himself. If the transfer can be completed by the end of the month, both clubs will be satisfied.
Frenkie de Jong a key piece of the Ten Hag puzzle
During their time together at Ajax, Ten Hag gave his compatriot 59 appearances. Only former Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has used him more.
It would be useful for Ten Hag to be reunited with a player he still trusts from those Ajax days.
Manchester United bid again for De Jong and Henderson going on loan
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And by getting a deal done this soon, if it can cross the line this month, De Jong could hit the ground running after a fairly full pre-season.
Whether he will justify the funds United would be spending on him is another matter. Other big-money signings have not always paid off, so there is a trend he will have to avoid following.
But it soon could be time to put his talents to the test as a Red Devil.