Manchester United have the strongest interest in signing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong this summer, according to ESPN.
The Netherlands international has emerged as one of United’s top midfield targets, but they are now prepared to step up their pursuit.
However, a deal does not appear straightforward by any means. De Jong would need to be convinced to join the club after they failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s £75 million valuation is another stumbling block, but United believe there could be some leeway over the price tag due to the Blaugrana’s financial concerns.
De Jong has regularly operated from central midfield for Barcelona, but he was a genuine holding midfielder at former club Ajax, where he was managed by Erik ten Hag.
The 25-year-old averaged over two tackles per game during their final season together in Amsterdam (2018/19). He has not been able to replicate the feat in Spain. A move to Old Trafford could see him play in his best position.
Having already worked under Ten Hag, he should be perfectly suited for the Dutchman’s tactical system. He is world class when it comes to distribution, having completed 91 per cent of his passes throughout his career.
If Barcelona are willing to lower the asking price, United should be serious contenders to land him, but the big question remains whether De Jong would be prepared to join without Champions League football.
With Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain keeping tabs, United face a huge hurdle. The best solution would be to get a definite answer from the player. If the stance is negative, United need to move on quickly.
In the past, they have tended to prolong negotiations in the transfer market. A similar repeat should be avoided as the new midfielder needs to be integrated into the squad at least midway through pre-season.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com