Manchester United have reportedly received a huge boost in their pursuit of Erik ten Hag’s top transfer target, Frenkie de Jong, after the ex-Ajax midfielder cleared out his locker at Barcelona
Frenkie de Jong has reportedly emptied his locker at Barcelona’s training ground as his move to Manchester United edges closer.
The 25-year-old has cleared his belongings from Ciutat Esportiva after Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag turned his head towards Old Trafford, according to AS. De Jong had wanted to stay in Catalonia beyond the summer transfer window, but Barcelona’s well-documented financial predicament is forcing the midfielder out.
Ten Hag identified De Jong as his top transfer target shortly after his appointment as manager, and following weeks of intense speculation, talks are now set to intensify over the coming days, as Camp Nou chiefs hope to shift the player quickly. While Mirror Football understands that United are not willing to be Barcelona’s financial bail-out in order to secure a deal, the news from Spain serves as a huge boost to Ten Hag’s chances of getting his man.
It is added in the report that Barcelona would accept €80 million (£68.8m) to sell De Jong, similar to the sum which the LaLiga giants paid Ajax for his services in 2019. The Red Devils are believed to be the only club to have made formal contact over the Netherlands international, who has publicly stated that his priority is to remain at Barcelona, but refused to deny talks with Ten Hag.
The new United boss developed De Jong at Ajax while guiding the Amsterdam side to the Champions League semi-finals three years ago. Although the deep-lying playmaker has struggled to make the same impact at the Camp Nou, De Jong’s performances in a variety of positions at club level and in a more natural box-to-box role for Holland have kept his stock high.
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Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has even claimed that the maestro is worth far more than Barcelona’s valuation, recently declaring: “Frenkie de Jong does bring an extra quality, of course. That is why he is also worth €112 million [£95.3m].”
De Jong remained coy on his future throughout the international break, shining on the pitch as the Netherlands won three of their four Nations League matches, only failing to beat Poland at home. “You are always flattered when teams show interest in you as a player,” he told a news conference following a slick display in Tuesday’s dramatic 3-2 win against Wales. “But I think I am at the biggest club in the world at the moment and feel fine there so there is no news.”