Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd mega transfer explodes into life as Ratcliffe vows to grant Ten Hag his biggest wish despite gargantuan fee

Erik ten Hag could be set to be replaced as Man Utd boss by Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Erik ten Hag could be set to be replaced as Man Utd boss by Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly ready to back Erik ten Hag in the transfer market this summer and finally deliver the Manchester United boss his biggest target in Frenkie de Jong – and Barcelona’s huge asking price for the player is unlikely to put the Red Devils off.

Ten Hag has spent around £400m since taking charge of the Red Devils in summer 2022, with a £216m outlay in his opening summer followed by a splurge of around £175m a year later. And while Manchester United enjoyed a promising first season under his charge, the time it has taken for his summer 2023 signings to make their impact felt has played its part in a disappointing campaign so far this time around for Ten Hag and Co.

Thankfully, better times appear to be ahead with the biggest of their summer recruits in Rasmus Hojlund finally finding his feet and beginning to make his impact felt. The Dane has scored five times in his last five outings – six in seven overall – to take his tally to 11 goals and two assists for United from his 29 appearances so far.

And with Ratcliffe’s long-running bid to invest into Manchester United also finally crossing the finishing line, the British billionaire is close to completing his dream of buying into his boyhood club with a 25% purchase of the Glazers’ shares.

As well as taking a quarter ownership of United, the 71-year-old will also charge of all sporting matters at Old Trafford, meaning he will oversee all transfer incomings and outgoings at Old Trafford and with the first step towards that seen as the appointment of a new sporting director. Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth appears to be in the driving seat for that particular role.

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Man Utd ready to meet hefty Frenkie de Jong asking price

As a result, it is expected that significant funds will be set aside for Ashworth, assuming he gets the role, and Ten Hag to invest into his squad.

To that end, they will likely target a new defender, midfielder and striker this summer to further strengthen their spine and boost their options.

And now, according to reports from Spain, United are ready to rekindle their interest in landing De Jong from Barcelona – and this time have a strong belief that a deal can be done at the second time of asking.

United infamously spent (wasted!) several weeks over Ten Hag’s first summer at the helm unsuccessfully pursuing the Dutch midfielder. A player well known to Ten Hag from their days at Ajax, it was reported at the time that United had agreed to match Barcelona’s €75m (£64m) demands for the midfielder.

Ultimately, that pursuit was doomed to failure with De Jong making clear he had no wish to abandon Barcelona and move away from Catalonia, where he was settled in the area. Indeed, complaints about the British weather from De Jong appeared commonplace, with the climate listed as one of 10 reasons why the midfielder was opposing the move.

Some 18 months down the line, however, and it seems there has been a significant shift from the player about a potential move.

And according to Mundo Deportivo, even Barcelona’s hefty asking price is unlikely to dissuade United from making an approach.

Per the report, the reigning Spanish champions have now put a whopping €100m (£85.5m) asking price on the midfielder’s head.

De Jong stance on Man Utd move changes

And while Chelsea are also reportedly keen on De Jong’s services, Financial Fair Play limitations are likely to deny the Blues a chance at adding De Jong to their mix, moreso given the bulk fo their finances are likely to be reserved for a major striker signing.

As a result, the report states United are likely to have a clear run at De Jong’s services and are seemingly unafraid at meeting the fee for the 26-year-old, and given the similar fees some of the game’s top midfielders have fetched in recent times.

As a result, there is an acceptance by Ratcliffe that, if United are to finally reunite Ten Hag with the player, Barcelona are well within their rights to seek such a lofty fee.

Supporters, though, may fear a repeat of the saga from summer 2022 when United pursued De Jong only for the player to put the brakes on the move.

However, reports in Spain claim there has now been a shift in De Jong’s mindset and he is now more open to the move than before after seeing Barcelona fall back on their own high standards this season and with a change of management incoming.

Speaking recently about his future, De Jong has stated his happiness at the Nou Camp, but has also refused to rule out a possible move away.

Asked if he sees his long-term future at the club, De Jong commented: “Possibly!

“But I’m very satisfied at Barca. It’s always difficult to say. For now, I feel good here.”

He added: “I am in the club where I always wanted to be, where I dreamed.”

De Jong is next in action on Saturday evening when they travel to face Celta Vigo, before a Champions League round -of-16 clash against Napoli on Wednesday at the Diego Maradona Stadium.

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