As Manchester United prepare to unveil their €70 million new signing Casemiro at Old Trafford tonight, it was thought that it represented an end to the summer-long saga over the transfer of Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong.
United have been desperate for a specialist deep-lying midfielder and De Jong was new manager Erik ten Hag’s first choice in the position.
However, with the window closing in just 10 days’ time and De Jong still embroiled in an argument over €17 million owed to him by his current club, United looked to have turned their attentions elsewhere and made their the sensational swoop for the five-times Champions League winner.
The idea of signing both stars in this window is heartening for the beleaguered United faithful, who have endured a horrific twelve months.
If De Jong is desperate to stay at the Camp Nou, he did himself no favours yesterday as a lacklustre performance against Real Sociedad was roundly criticised by the Catalan press.
“De Jong was not comfortable at the Reale Arena despite playing as a midfielder, his favourite position,” Sport reports.
“The day Bernardo Silva shone with City, the Dutchman’s performance left doubts.
“Years go by and skepticism grows around Frenkie de Jong.
“Months go by and doubts grow about whether he can be an important piece at Barça.
“On a day when he was in the spotlight, his performance was disappointing.
“His lost possession contributed to Real’s first goal.
“The feeling is that he suffered on the field.”
The mention of Bernardo Silva’s performance for Manchester City is important in Sport’s critique because the Blaugrana are negotiating with the Citizens for his transfer.
However, it is well acknowledged that there is no chance of raising the funds for that deal without first offloading De Jong.
If United truly have the funds to still sign the Dutchman in addition to Casemiro, then there could still be a dramatic twist in this tale that sees the number 21 shirt being filled at Old Trafford this season.
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