Man Utd to play the long game with Pogba replacement – but Euro rival lie in wait

Casemiro challenges Frenkie de Jong during Real Madrid vs Barcelona, October 2021

It appears Manchester United will play the long game with potential Paul Pogba replacement Frenkie de Jong.

United recently joined the race to sign de Jong, who could be on his way out of Barcelona. The midfielder is reportedly dispensable for the troubled Catalan club, as they have a number of young stars coming through in his position.

The prospect of picking up the highly-rated 24-year-old is a mouthwatering one for Europe’s top clubs.

And that is especially true for the Red Devils, who will need to fill the Pogba-shaped hole in their squad next summer.

While de Jong’s owners are open to his sale, Fabrizio Romano has indicated the player himself isn’t yet sure.

The transfer expert tweeted that it is “still very quiet” about the Dutch international at the moment.

What’s more, Romano states that United have not yet opened talks over his signing. Instead, there will be a wait over the next few months.

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They are not alone, though, because Paris Saint-Germain are also lying in wait.

Their experiment to sign free agent Georginio Wijnaldum in the summer has failed. Therefore, the French side are back in the market for a central midfielder.

Man United's Anthony Martial linked with Atletico

Man United's Anthony Martial has been linked with Atletico Madrid.

De Jong joined Barca in 2019 from Ajax, and then signed a contract extension last year to take his deal to 2026.

Given that length of time, the La Liga outfit are rumoured to want €90m for their asset. It’s a fair asking price, but it may be a case of beggars can’t be choosers.

If they need to trim their wage bill further, then the Spaniards will have to take what they can get.

However, with interest also said to be coming from Man City, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich, then a bidding war could ensue.

United scout Leeds star

Illan-Meslier Leeds TEAMtalk

Meanwhile, United have reportedly been that impressed by the form of Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier over the past 18 months that they sent scouts to watch him in action against Manchester City on Tuesday night, which turned out to be unfortunate timing.

The Red Devils sent scout Tony Coton, a former England B stopper, to watch the France Under-21 star in action.

However, Leeds were crushed 7-0 at the Etihad – although he was not really to blame for any of the goals and performed admirably to stop the scoreline hitting double figures.

The 21-year-old is in his third season at Elland Road. In that time he’s developed into one of Europe’s top young keepers under Marcelo Bielsa’s stewardship.

The report in the Daily Mail claims that United have been impressed by Meslier’s maturity. It’s also not the first time that they have sent scouts to watch the player.

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