Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag ‘sets seven-day deadline’ on Frenkie de Jong Barcelona transfer

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is ready to give up on the idea of signing Frenkie de Jong if a deal cannot be struck within the next seven days, it has been claimed. The Dutchman is eager to secure De Jong’s arrival quickly so that he can join up with their first-team squad for pre-season.

United will be going overseas again for the first time since the summer of 2020 after Covid wrecked their plans 12 months ago. United are headed to Asia and Australia next month and will play Liverpool, Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa in friendlies before returning to Europe to face Atletico Madrid in Oslo.

The Daily Mirror claim that Ten Hag has made it clear to United’s board, and namely chief executive Richard Arnold, he does not want the club to get involved in a lengthy summer saga. The ex-Ajax manager wants De Jong at Old Trafford by the end of next week or will move on to alternative options.

Though the 25-year-old is the top priority for the new United manager, if an agreement cannot be struck in the next seven days, it is said he is prepared to switch to other targets. Ten Hag does not want to risk waiting weeks and weeks trying to do a deal only to be left disappointed at the end of it.

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The report even claims United have had a bid of £53million plus £7m in add-ons rejected by the La Liga heavyweights. But the Red Devils are said to expect that Barcelona will eventually green-light a sale given financial issues at the Nou Camp.

Regardless Ten Hag is ready to walk away from a deal if necessary. De Jong would be a blockbuster addition and would reunite the United manager with a player with whom he is familiar after they worked together at Ajax before the midfielder joined Barca in January 2019.

The Spanish side paid £65m for De Jong then and it appears they want at least as much as that in order to sell him two-and-a-half years on. Xavi is already eyeing Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva as a successor.

Despite Ten Hag’s willingness to walk away if his deadline is not met, at the moment United are still ‘working hard’ to bring the Netherlands international to Manchester, with only a few weeks until the squad returns for pre-season. Their first friendly is in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 12.

Club legend Gary Neville wants Ten Hag to make four new signings this summer, saying: “We know the areas they absolutely need to actually strengthen. Central midfield is an absolute necessity. An absolute necessity. Manchester United need midfield players. They also need a centre-forward. I know Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to stay and he’s an absolutely brilliant performer, but they need a centre-forward. Centre-forward is a must.

“I think there’ll need to be a wide player, just to beef up the squad, and I think full-backs are absolutely critical in the modern game. [There are] four full-backs there, it’ll be interesting to see which two, three or four of those are liked.”

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