Man Utd are still backing themselves to sign Frenkie de Jong next summer, according to reports, despite Barcelona’s repeated claims that he will stay put.
The Red Devils spent a large chunk of last summer chasing the Dutchman in an ultimately unsuccessful pursuit after reports had claimed Barcelona and Man Utd had agreed a fee in principle at one point.
However, there were claims that De Jong was never interested in a move to Old Trafford, while reports of the Catalan giants owing him £17m complicated matters further.
And that saw Man Utd move onto other targets with Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot seemingly quite close at one point to a transfer before the Red Devils eventually forked out £70m for Casemiro.
There has been speculation that Man Utd are still interested in De Jong with Erik ten Hag known to be a big fan of the midfielder after working with him at Ajax.
But Barcelona president Joan Laporta this week said that he “never wanted” to sell De Jong and that he is “one of the best players” at the La Liga outfit.
Laporta told reporters: “In midfield I have never wanted to sell Frenkie de Jong because he is one of the best players we have. He is one of the great talents, young, and one of the leaders of the team.”
But Spanish publication Sport are once again pushing a potential transfer with Man Utd ‘absolutely convinced that they will have options to sign him this summer’.
They describe De Jong as United’s ‘obsession’ and that the Red Devils believe Barcelona are ‘acting’ in an effort to raise De Jong’s valuation ahead of the next two transfer windows.
Man Utd are ‘clear that De Jong himself will have the last word’ on any potential transfer, which seems to be no going off previous reports, but Sport insist the Premier League side have ‘opened the door’ to a move anyway.
Barcelona do still ‘expect a gesture from the player before the end of the season’ as they look to lower their wage budget with the hope that De Jong will take a pay cut.
The Catalan giants seem to have made it clear that they ‘do not plan to sell De Jong’ but Man Utd apparently see that as a ‘negotiation tactic’.
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