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Manchester United are "optimistic" of sealing their first summer signing Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong under new boss Erik ten Hag, reports suggest.
The Dutch boss could be set for a reunion with the 25-year-old at Old Trafford, after previously working with the player at Ajax. According to Spanish outlet Sport, De Jong's time as a Barca player is coming to an end with United reportedly close to reaching an agreement worth £70million.
United, who have been discussing terms with the Spanish giants for the last few weeks, have set a deadline to formalise the deal or put it on track definitively until mid-June. Barca, meanwhile, will have the opportunity to improve their financial situation should a deal come to fruition.
Having said that, the Netherlands international still needs some convincing, given the lack of Champions League football at Old Trafford. The midfielder, who is said to be a priority for Ten Hag, is still under contract at Camp Nou until 2026, but the Red Devils are willing to offer him a substantial salary to become one of the highest earners, exceeding his current Barca wages.
Sport also state that Barca are "absolutely willing to let him go", although there is a chance he could still decide to remain at the Catalonian side. United however, have an alternative lined-up in Lazio's Milinkovic-Savic should a deal fall through.
The 27-year-old is believed to be valued at £63m as per Transfermarkt, but United will not be alone in their pursuit with Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus also monitoring his situation. De Jong made the £65m move to Barca from Ajax in 2019 and has gone on to make over 145 appearances – establishing himself in Xavi's team, making 47 appearances just last season.
HAVE YOUR SAY! Which of the two deals could you see coming to fruition? Have your say in the comment section below…
Speaking while on international duty, De Jong insisted his dream is still to play for Barcelona next season. He said: "I have enough confidence in myself [to be a success at Barcelona]. I am not afraid. I recently spoke extensively with the trainer [Xavi]. That was a very good conversation.
"I will not go into that [the links to United]. Not even about other names or clubs. I used to be naive and open-minded about it. I don’t do that anymore. I understand that that link is made. That sum is not that difficult, it is logical. I have enjoyed working with Ten Hag at Ajax – and I can’t look into the future, of course. But I prefer to stay at Barcelona. That has always been my dream club and it still is."
- Manchester United FC
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