Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag continues to urge the club’s hierarchy to sign Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong this summer, Spanish publication Sport (today’s edition, Page 6) claims.
The Dutchman has been identified as the top transfer target to bolster United’s midfield, but they have yet to reach a suitable agreement with Barcelona for his services.
The Red Devils are willing to pay €70 million up front with €10m in add-ons, but Barcelona are clear that they want a fixed sum of at least €80m (£68m) alongside variables.
Hence, the clubs are still far apart from negotiating a fee, but Ten Hag ‘continues to press’ the United leadership to make an effort to sign De Jong, who is ‘absolute priority’.
At the beginning of the month, there were suggestions that Barcelona were willing to sanction the midfielder’s exit, but the player may have second thoughts over joining United.
The lack of Champions League football was highlighted as the reason, but that no longer appears a stumbling block. Ten Hag has reportedly convinced De Jong over a move to Old Trafford.
A deal is still hanging in the balance with United now reluctant to meet the Catalans’ demands. Barcelona obviously need to raise funds to balance their books, but continue to play hardball in negotiations.
United have ‘not given up’ on De Jong yet, and there is the optimism that Barcelona could change their stance towards the end of the month as they look to recoup funds before the financial year closes.
Whether that happens or not remains to be seen. United and Ten Hag seem to be placing their entire focus on De Jong, and can ill-afford for the move to backfire with some European rivals keeping tabs.