Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Frenkie de Jong: Major twist in transfer saga as star rejects move and tells Man Utd he’s staying at Barcelona

Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona midfielder, during La Liga game v Alaves

Manchester United’s hopes of signing Frenkie de Jong have suffered what appears to be a knockout blow amid strong claims in Spain that the midfielder has told both clubs he does not want to leave Barcelona.

United boss Erik ten Hag has made the capture of his compatriot his No 1 priority this summer. With United slumping to a sixth-placed finish last season, a new midfield general was seen as a must for the Red Devils. However, efforts to prise De Jong from Barcelona have been riddled with problems right from the off.

Indeed, Barcelona’s valuation has proven a tricky one for United to negotiate. The LaLiga giants have been unwavering in their asking price for the player, refusing to offer a discount on their £64.8m (€75m) valuation. United have tried to offer a smaller amount up front, with the rest made up in incentives.

Ultimately, though, that tactic failed and United eventually agreed to meet Barcelona’s demands.

However, United chief executive Richard Arnold could not resist making public the difficulty they have faced in negotiating the deal.

That said, the breakthrough looked seemingly close, with Barcelona even lining up a cut-price replacement.

That said, creaks started to appear in the prospective arrangement on Tuesday. That’s after former Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman suggested De Jong wanted to stay.

Now, Spanish publication Sport has made the massive claims that the deal may now be off. With negotiations gathering pace, they claim that De Jong has told Barcelona at the 11th hour that he has ‘no intention’ of moving to Manchester United.

Under the headline ‘Frenkie de Jong refuses to leave Barcelona’, they report he has informed Xavi he will reject United’s approach. Furthermore, he still believes he can be a success at the Nou Camp.

Frenkie de Jong transfer bid may be over

In addition, Sport claims the talks will come to an abrupt halt if De Jong does not change his mind. With the situation described as ‘tense’, Sport believes De Jong is ready to dig his heels in and resist the transfer.

The news will come as a significant blow to Barcelona. The cash-strapped Catalans were banking on his sale – and wages saving – to boost their income.

However, reports that the transfer now appears to be off will come as an even bigger blow for Manchester United.

Ten Hag was banking on his fellow Dutchman to be the leader of his project at Old Trafford. With money at a premium, United were likely to focus on quality over quantity this summer.

And with a reported budget of around £100m before player sales, Ten Hag was willing to blow a large chunk of that on De Jong.

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Now with the deal seemingly off, the manager may be forced to go back to the drawing board.

That will come as a significant blow, with doubts also emerging over their prospects of landing Christian Eriksen.

United are, however, reportedly casting their eyes back towards Youri Tielemans. As such, the Leicester man may now become their main focus in light of the latest developments in Spain.