Man City’s intentions over scuppering a Man Utd move for Frenkie de Jong have emerged, and a clear barrier to a transfer has also been highlighted by a report.
The classy Dutchman, 25, has emerged as a key early transfer target in the upcoming Erik ten Hag era. Transfer expert Gerard Romero recently claimed a deal was 95 percent completed. However, other sources have been rather more cautious in their reporting.
Regardless, what is clear is De Jong is high on the list of transfer targets at Old Trafford. He is known to Ten Hag through their time at Ajax and would represent the type of statement signing Manchester United fans crave.
Any Barcelona sale would likely be down to financial reasons. De Jong was signed for around £75m (including add-ons) three years prior and Barca will push to make a profit if their arm is twisted this summer.
And with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic both leaving, United’s need for a top class centre mid has never been greater.
However, speculation has begun to swirl cross-town rivals Man City could yet torpedo United’s plans.
Man City stance clarified
Fernandinho is due to move on when the season ends. That could leave the holding midfield role exposed if Rodri were to succumb to injury next year.
As such, the Telegraph report Guardiola ‘wants to bring in another midfielder’ next window. But mercifully for United fans, it’s stressed City have ‘dismissed’ reports linking them to the man they tried to sign in 2019.
Manchester United 'on the cusp' of Frenkie de Jong signing
Manchester United are reportedly 'on the cusp' of signing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, according to Gerard Romero.
That should give the Red Devils a clear run at the move, though it’s acknowledged it’ll be far from straightforward.
Firstly, De Jong’s ‘preference’ is to remain where he is at the Camp Nou. But should it become apparent a move is inevitable, he will prioritise a club that has Champions League football to offer.
United are already mathematically out of that race in the Premier League this year. As such, their negotiating team may be forced into upping the financial rewards to lure De Jong in.
The Dutchman reportedly already earns £200,000-a-week after tax in Spain.
Is Frenkie de Jong a risk?
With only Fred, Scott McTominay and potentially James Garner on the books in central midfield next year, it’s clear United must act in the window.
The financial incentive for Barcelona to sell is obvious. However, the Telegraph did add a somewhat concerning note.
De Jong has completed 90 minutes in less than half of his league outings this season. Teenage pair Gavi and Pedri have already overtaken him in the pecking order. That is something that has pushed De Jong into a less favoured advanced position in the midfield.
Regardless, at 25, De Jong still has his best years ahead and he is a player incoming boss Ten Hag knows well. The chances of his potential move producing a Donny van de Beek repeat appear remote, especially as Ten Hag is on board with the move.
What’s more, United’s current central midfield options are a far cry from those their Premier League rivals can field. Few could argue De Jong wouldn’t be a massive step in the right direction for United’s engine room.