Manchester United are now reportedly confident of securing the transfer of Frenkie de Jong after a dramatic 24 hours almost saw their hopes bite the dust.
New United manager Erik ten Hag has been chasing the Barcelona man for most of the summer. Knowing his side need a new look and identity, De Jong is the man they have honed in on to revolutionise their midfield. But getting the transfer over the line has been anything but easy, as chief executive Richard Arnold went public with.
Indeed, United have held several round of talks with Barcelona to try and find common ground. Ultimately, Arnold and Co have found the LaLiga giants an unmoveable object over their valuation of the player. To that end, United’s attemps to offer a smaller amount up front and pay the rest in bonuses and add-ons has fallen short.
Instead, United are reportedly paying Barcelona a deal worth around £64.8m (€75m), though some reports suggest the deal may be as low as £56m.
Either way, United will pay Barcelona the entire fee in its whole – eleviating many of Barcelona’s financial issues. That, in turn, will allow them to register two of their summer signings in Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen.
But agreeing a fee with Barcelona has only been half of United’s battle. Indeed, the player has been fairly vocal in his wishes to stay at the Nou Camp.
And those reports reached fever pitch on Wednesday when Catalonian paper Sport claimed De Jong had told Barcelona and United the deal was off and he intended to stay.
However, that appears to no longer be the case and it seems now that United, just about, have their man.
Frenkie de Jong signing by this weekend
And according to Sky Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg, Manchester United could announce De Jong’s signing as soon as this weekend.
He said: “Update De Jong: Ten Hag wanted him, he will get him! The deal is in the final stages. De Jong is on verge to join #MUFC! Been told that de Jong could be presented at the weekend. But it’s not 100 % safe right now. There are plans to present him in the stadium.”
Despite the positive update, United will not breathe easily until the ink is dried on his contract.
The transfer has proven one of the most complex in United’s history, with the signing hinging on many other deals this summer.
Indeed, Ten Hag has a budget of around £100m to spend, before player sales. But with a vast chunk being spent of that on De Jong, it does not leave Ten Hag with much wriggle room.
Ten Hag desperate for De Jong reunion at Man Utd
Manchester United are doing “everything they can” to sign Frenkie De Jong from Barcelona this summer, according to a leaked video featuring United’s CEO Richard Arnold
However, the club are closing in on a second signing in Tyrell Malacia. The Feyenoord star has given United his word over his arrival, despite a last-ditch plea from a Ligue 1 outfit.
United will expect De Jong to provide more control in the midfield and strike that right balance – so often missing last season – between defence and attack.
A classy, cultured performer, the star has already stated his preferred position to Ten Hag ahead of his arrival.