De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links
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Manchester United’s pursuit of Frenkie de Jong continues to be tricky. They’re convinced the player is ready to move to Old Trafford, especially after agreeing a fee with Barcelona. But with the player owed money, the Red Devils could get round this by paying even more for the 25-year-old.
Manchester United have spent over 70 days chasing De Jong, who was quickly identified as a priority target following Erik ten Hag’s appointment as manager.
And, at the current moment in time, several things are clear.
Firstly, United have agreed a fee with Barcelona. They’re prepared to spend an initial £63million on the midfielder, with an extra £8m then coming their way in add-ons and bonuses.
Secondly, De Jong is wary to leave Barcelona. He’s long dreamed of playing for the club and doesn’t want to call time on his career.
Thirdly, Barcelona want him gone. Having spent big on Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski, the La Liga giants desperately need to balance their finances.
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And then, fourthly, De Jong is owed £17m in deferred wages from his current employers – having agreed to take a pay cut at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, this saga goes on and on.
So one way United can end it once and for all, amid their conviction De Jong is indeed willing to join, is to up their initial offer and cover the money the midfielder is owed.
United have talked about paying the money to De Jong outright but, due to FIFA rules, this isn’t a viable option.
So what if they agreed to pay £80m up front for the Netherlands international instead?
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Obviously, that’s a staggering some of money. Especially given add-ons would take the overall cost to £88m, just £1m short of the money they paid for Paul Pogba back in 2016.
But given Ten Hag thinks his former Ajax pupil is unique and special, surely it would be worth the investment?
It’s worth hammering home that United wouldn’t have allocated so many resources to a deal if the player himself wasn’t willing to make the move.
And, in their eyes, De Jong is a signing that can accelerate progress as they gear up for Ten Hag’s first season in the dugout.
It would be risky, especially given how Barcelona are going about their business this summer.
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Deals for Lewandowski and Raphinha, due to their financial situation, could be seen as putting the club’s future on the line.
But if United receive word the extra cash would cover what De Jong is owed, then finally they’d potentially be able to land their man.
Right now, they rightly have no intention of doing that.
Yet if United find themselves in this same situation in a few weeks, things may become more pressing and urgent.
And that’s when they may decide to go for the jugular by stumping up more cash to land a player Ten Hag believes can become the stuff of United legend.
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Regarding De Jong, a leading ‘high level football agent’ has clammed Barcelona to GQ Magazine.
“It’s outrageous what Barcelona are doing,” they’re quoted as saying. “It’s morally wrong.
“He’s already taken a pay cut and deferred wages. They are trying to guilt trip a player into going.
“It is not Frenkie de Jong’s issue that Barcelona were so badly run.”
De Jong has won just one trophy at Barcelona so far. He was part of the team that secured Copa del Rey glory under Ronald Koeman last year.
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