Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd suffer completely disheartening transfer blow with top Ten Hag target deemed ‘untouchable’

Erik ten Hag, Manchester United, December 2022

A report has revealed that Man Utd will not be able to sign one of Erik ten Hag’s preferred targets under practically any circumstances this summer.

Ten Hag is building a promising project at Man Utd, recently lifting the Carabao Cup. With a few smart additions in the summer, he might be able to get his team into Premier League title contention.

Finding a new centre-forward will be one of the priorities, as well as sorting out their goalkeeping situation. But another area to reinforce, if the opportunity arises, could be their midfield.

In that territory, their top target last summer was Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong. After all, Ten Hag used to work with him at Ajax.

However, De Jong decided to stay at Barcelona, prompting Man Utd to sign Casemiro from Real Madrid instead. The Brazilian’s impact has been positive, although a couple of red cards haven’t helped.

Without Casemiro, Man Utd have looked like they need something extra in midfield. Therefore, there have been new suggestions about them reviving their interest in De Jong.

Unfortunately, though, Diario Sport has revealed that De Jong will be out of reach for any club this summer as well.

READ MORETuchel sends Man Utd transfer up in smoke, but Ten Hag responds with even juicier deal quickly taking shape

According to the Barcelona-based source, he has become one of three “untouchable” members of Xavi’s squad ahead of the summer, who won’t be sold even in a “moment of absolute despair”.

Other than De Jong, Barcelona are refusing to entertain the idea of exits for Ronald Araujo and Pedri.

The La Liga outfit do need to raise funds by selling some players, but will have plenty of other candidates before the trio in question.

Man Utd might have to give up De Jong dream

Hence, it seems practically impossible for Man Utd to reunite Ten Hag with De Jong this summer. Besides, the player himself has already said he is happy at Barcelona recently – even more so than last year.

It is probably wise for Man Utd to forget about the idea of signing De Jong this year. And he remains under contract at Camp Nou until 2026, so he could be beyond their grasp for a long time.

Indeed, De Jong will be 29 years old by the time his Barcelona contract expires.

Barcelona’s insistence on keeping him represents something of a turnaround, which even Sport admits. Last year, it seemed like they were open to selling him to Man Utd, before the Dutchman chose to stay.

Now, Barcelona are against the concept of cashing in on De Jong, so they are on the same page.

Ten Hag might feel somewhat deflated by the latest update, having been so open about his admiration of De Jong before. But at least Man Utd will be able to start searching for alternatives with plenty of time before the transfer window opens.

READ MORETen Hag loses patience with Sancho as ‘ruthless’ Man Utd prepare to sell seven stars signed for £256m