Manchester United have finally come to a transfer agreement with Barcelona over a deal to make Frenkie de Jong the first signing of the Erik ten Hag era, according to a report.
The Dutchman has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford all summer. However, getting the transfer over the line has proved problematic with Barcelona proving tricky negotiators. To that end, United chief executive Richard Arnold went public with the many obstacles United have faced so far this summer.
As such, Barcelona have always remain steadfast that their £73.8m (€86m) valuation of De Jong has little room for negotiation. Highly-rated by Xavi, he’s not a player they are willing to part with for lower than their valuation.
That, though, has not stopped United trying. They were forced to undergo similar tactics when it came to landing Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon back in January 2020. At that time, United reached the Portuguese side’s asking price by offering a downpayment with various add-ons helping the final transfer fee meet their expectations.
That style of negotiating, however, has seemingly fallen on deaf ears at Barcelona. Indeed, United’s first offer – said to have been for an initial £51.5m (€60m) together with add-ons – was quickly rejected.
The transfer is a simple one as far as Barcelona are concerned, with the Blaugrana simply wanting more of a guaranteed fee up front.
Reports on Thursday, though, suggest United have relented to Barca’s demands and a new offer is forthcoming. Furthermore, it’s suggested Ten Hag is now ‘entirely optimistic’ that their latest offer will be accepted.
Now, according to talkSPORT that agreement is virtually done with United agreeing to pay £68m.
Five-year deal on the table
They claim United are looking to conclude his signing next week with a date of Thursday June 30 named as a provisional date for an announcement.
De Jong will reportedly sign a five-year deal at Old Trafford, keeping the 25-year-old at the club until summer 2027. Furthermore, he will be earning a salary greater than he currently does at the Nou Camp.
As per talkSPORT, his arrival will kick off a busy period for United and Ten Hag. The new United boss is looking to bolster his squad before they return to pre-season training over the coming week.
They claim De Jong’s signing will reportedly be followed by that of Antony.
The Brazilian carries a likely £45m price tag and his arrival will significantly bolster their attack.
The Red Devils have also offered a contract to Christian Eriksen and there appears a growing optimism he will also sign.
The signing of De Jong and Eriksen will make up for the exits of Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic. All four players have departed Old Trafford as free agents this summer.
Frenkie de Jong signing exactly what United need
Although United are paying a premium fee for De Jong, his signing looks an excellent piece of business.
The 25-year-old is rightly seen as one of the world’s best midfielders. He possesses excellent ball control, an exquisite passing range and can control games from midfield.
To that end, he’s exactly what the club has been lacking in midfield for some time. Indeed, while Fred and Scott McTominay have their advantages, they lack the all-round game required at the very top level.
That’s not the case with De Jong. His will be a signing that strike the right balance between defence and attack. That’s an issue United struggled to get right with Pogba in their side.
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Manchester United will also hope his signing is a prelude to other exciting arrivals. Ten Hag is right to focus on quality over quantity for his first season at the helm.
And De Jong will be the first step in that direction as they look for a more successful 2022/23.