De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links
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With Manchester United struggling to land Frenkie de Jong and Antony, it’s possible the Red Devils will pull some surprises out of the bag. That’s certainly been the case in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, with bolts from the blue delivered since 2013. And, if history is anything go by, then supporters can expect some interesting developments in the coming weeks ahead.
Manchester United want to sign De Jong, having negotiated with Barcelona for the midfielder all summer long.
But a deal for the 25-year-old remains up in the air.
While the Catalan giants are keen to get De Jong off their books, the midfielder himself is reluctant to leave.
He’s long dreamed of playing for Barcelona and, just three years into his stint in Catalonia, he’s reluctant to jump ship.
And De Jong is also wary of leaving while the La Liga side still owe him money, with the midfielder owed £17million in deferred wages after agreeing to take a pay cut at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Then, there’s Antony.
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Erik ten Hag would love to bring the Brazil international to the club, having managed the Samba star for three years at Ajax.
But with the Eredivisie outfit wanting £70m for their prized asset, however, that sum is simply too high for United at the current moment in time.
With deals for De Jong and Antony hanging in the balance, the Red Devils have been linked with the usual suspects such as Ruben Neves, Youri Tielemans and Memphis Depay.
But history suggests United could end up securing some late surprise signings instead amid their desire to strengthen the squad.
Take 2014, for example.
It was an open secret that United wanted the likes of Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria and Daley Blind that summer.
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Yet the arrival of Radamel Falcao wasn’t remotely expected, with the Colombia international moving from Monaco on loan on a dramatic transfer deadline day.
The following year, it was a similar story.
United’s interest in Sergio Romero, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian, Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin was all common knowledge.
But, with Anthony Martial, it was a different case.
United needed a striker to replace Falcao and Robin van Persie, who had been allowed to join Fenerbahce.
So the France international, with very little fuss, touched down from Monaco in a blockbuster £36m deal.
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In 2016, United pulled off a surprise signing in the form of Henrikh Mkhitaryan – who had previously been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool.
Their capture of Romelu Lukaku 12 months later was another shock, too.
The Belgium international had been expected to return to Chelsea from Everton, with Antonio Conte earmarking him as a top target, whereas United had been tipped to land Antoine Griezmann.
But United stunned fans by signing Lukaku instead, with Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba particularly delighted.
In 2018, nobody expected Lee Grant or Diogo Dalot to join.
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And, in 2020, United rocked many by bringing in Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani.
Van de Beek had been expected to move to Real Madrid but United, feeling Jack Grealish was too pricey, swooped for the Netherlands international instead.
And Cavani wasn’t on United’s radar until very late in the window, when it was evident the Red Devils would be unable to recruit Jadon Sancho.
This summer, with deals for De Jong and Antony tricky, it’ll be interesting to see what happens.
But it’s feasible more bolts from the blue will happen as the Red Devils look to bolster their squad as the clock ticks down.
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