De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links in June
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Manchester United want Frenkie de Jong. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, that’s something you’ll no doubt be aware of. And the Glazers could intervene to put the saga to bed once and for all, with the club’s pursuit of the Barcelona star beginning to turn into a farce.
Manchester United first opened talks for De Jong 12 weeks ago.
But despite nearly a quarter of a year passing, the Red Devils have been unable to get a deal for the 25-year-old over the line.
United have agreed a fee with Barcelona, which is believed to be worth an initial £63million before rising to £72m due to bonuses and add-ons.
Yet, still, the saga rumbles on and on.
There’s now talk of Chelsea potentially hijacking a deal, with Blues boss Thomas Tuchel reportedly open to taking De Jong to Stamford Bridge this summer.
And United have every right to fear being gazumped, especially given how the west London giants have Champions League football to offer.
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Now, it’s possible the Glazers will intervene. Either they’ll green light paying more money to cover De Jong’s wages, or pull the plug completely.
And history suggests the Americans aren’t afraid to get involved in footballing matters when they feel their authority is required.
Back in the summer transfer window of 2017, Jose Mourinho wanted to jettison Anthony Martial amid concerns over the France international’s attitude.
Martial had regressed after previously shining under Louis van Gaal and was clearly put out after being transformed into a winger, having formerly been a centre-forward.
He was also frustrated at having to give up his No 9 shirt for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had arrived on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain the previous year.
Mourinho wanted to use Martial in a swap deal that would have seen Ivan Perisic, then of Inter Milan, move to Old Trafford.
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Yet the Glazers said no.
The Americans intervened, with Joel Glazer insisting Martial had the potential to be the club’s very own Pele.
And he ended up staying put, with Perisic also remaining at Inter Milan before moving to Tottenham earlier this summer.
A second time the Glazers intervened was back in the summer of 2020.
Sergio Romero wanted to join Everton that summer, having been promised a fair shot at the No 1 jersey despite Jordan Pickford’s presence at the club.
The Argentina international had fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford following Dean Henderson’s return from a successful loan stint at Goodison Park.
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Yet the Glazers prevented Romero from leaving, fearing Everton would challenge them for a place in the top four.
Now, with De Jong, it’s feasible the United owners will leap into action.
They could agree to pay the £17m the midfielder is owed in deferred wages by Barcelona by sanctioning an even higher offer than the £63m they’ve had accepted.
Or they may just pull the plug.
The more time United spend on De Jong, the less likely it seems they’ll be able to bring in alternatives.
Ruben Neves, Youri Tielemans, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham have all been linked as potential back-up targets.
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But United are now running a real risk of being left without a midfielder for a second year in a row.
And Jamie O’Hara, speaking recently to Sky Sports, recently called on the Red Devils to walk away from a deal for De Jong – insisting it’s ‘almost embarrassing’ now.
O’Hara told Sky Sports News: “Move on, move on. It’s been a joke. It’s almost embarrassing now that they’re still trying to pursue it.
“If it hasn’t happened now, it’s not going to happen. This is Manchester United we’re talking about, one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“I know they don’t have the biggest pull anymore because of the way the club’s gone, but if the player’s still turning around saying ‘I don’t want to leave, I want to stay at Barcelona’, they’re messing around trying to sort the wages that he’s owed, just move on from him.
“There’s plenty of other top-class players out there that you can sign and you don’t want a player ending up coming to the football club almost against his will, in a way. That doesn’t sit right with me.”
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