Manchester United chiefs meet with Barcelona director of football Mateu Alemany in an attempt to step up chase for Erik ten Hag’s ‘priority transfer target’ Frenkie de Jong
- Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong is wanted by Manchester United this summer
- United chiefs Richard Arnold and John Murtough have been spotted in Barca
- De Jong is reportedly happy to stay at Barca rather than join Erik ten Hag’s side
- However the United are thought to be ‘convinced’ they can pull off the transfer
- Barca boss Xavi will talk with the board this week about their plans over de Jong
Manchester United chiefs Richard Arnold and John Murtough have arrived in Barcelona as the club look to intensify their pursuit of Frenkie de Jong.
United have spent much of the summer transfer window so far seeking a deal for the Netherlands international midfielder, but are yet to make any real progress in their chase.
Murtough and Arnold met with Barca Sporting Advisor Jordi Cruyff and director of football Mateu Alemany today at the Triton Restaurante in the Catalan city, in a bid to accelerate what is fast becoming the summer’s biggest transfer saga.
Frenkie de Jong is owed £17million in deferred wages by Barcelona which could hold up a deal
The former Ajax player, who was part of Erik ten Hag’s Champions League semifinalists in 2019, is under contract at the Catalan giants until 2026 but his immediate future is still far from clear.
De Jong himself has not yet made his thoughts on a move abundantly clear, although reports from Spain suggest that he is comfortably at the Catalan side, which will surely not please United fans.
On top of that, Barca President Joan Laporta has publicly stated the player will not be sold this summer, saying: ‘He is a Barca player. And unless we feel the need or the interest to sell him we won’t do it.’
CEO Richard Arnold arrived in Barcelona for a meeting with Mateu Alemany and Jordi Cruyff
Director of football at United John Murtough (right) joined Arnold at the Triton Restaurante
‘Frenkie de Jong isn’t for sale. We know he has offers. And if at a given moment we are interested in selling him then we would think about it.’
But the small matter of Barca’s well documented financial problems may prove to be a decisive factor in the matter, with de Jong representing a sure-fire way to gather some much needed funds.
The two European powerhouses have reached an agreement over a £55million sum for the 25-year-old, although the move may be delayed after it was revealed the player was owed some £17m in deferred wages.
Frenkie de Jong’s signature is a priority for Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag this summer.
As well as that, Barca are also targeting signings of their own, such as Robert Lewandowski and Bernardo Silva, which will naturally require them to raise substantial fees somehow.
In this way it would appear that Barca’s entire plan of attack in this window could hinge on the departure of de Jong, who would also relieve some of the pressure on their wage bill.
And with United convinced that they will pull off the deal, manager Xavi is reportedly keen to have the situation resolved before they fly out to America on July 16 for a two-week pre-season tour, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Barca manager Xavi (left) wants De Jong’s future sorted before they to America for pre-season
The Spanish publication state Xavi will meet with Alemany and others – with the board waiting to see how essential de Jong is to his midfield plans.
United’s decision to send prominent officials to Catalonia could also come after reports that Chelsea were preparing to snatch de Jong away from them this summer.
Todd Boehly himself was pictured in the city ahead of negotiations with Barca, and United may be preparing to get a move for de Jong over the line before rivals Chelsea can throw yet another spanner in the works.
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