Unless one has been living under a rock, Manchester United’s protracted yet ultimately fruitless chase of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong was the summer transfer window saga of this year.
New manager Erik ten Hag had decided quite early on during his tenure that the team needed to have a strong spine and had deemed the incumbent midfield duo of Scott McTominay and Fred as not good enough for a team like United.
And he had earmarked former Ajax star De Jong as the perfect man for the job. As reported extensively during the summer, the Dutch boss had called the midfielder to convince him about his project.
The internal conversations were so positive that the club went ahead and agreed a €75million deal with the Catalan giants for the transfer of the diminutive playmaker.
FDJ saga to continue in 2023
But a combination of wage issues coupled with the player’s desire to stay at the club meant a deal never materialised and the Red Devils eventually ended up getting Real Madrid superstar Casemiro instead.
But reports linking the 20-time English champions with the Netherlands international have refused to go away and it seems like it will spill over onto the next summer as well.
According to SPORT, United remain confident of signing the 25-year-old despite president Joan Laporta’s recent comments.
Barça president Laporta on de Jong and Man United: “I’ve never wanted to sell Frenkie de Jong. He has to be a pillar of the team”, tells BarçaTV 🚨🇳🇱 #MUFC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 22, 2022
“The English club is absolutely convinced that they will have options to sign him this summer and, from England, the latest statements by the Blaugrana president, Joan Laporta, are seen, declaring the Dutchman non-transferable as an action to raise the price of a possible transfer,” the report added.
Currently, Barcelona have no plan to sell their midfield asset and even though they do not plan to reduce his salary as of now, they expect the player to make a positive gesture in that regard.
“The Dutchman and his entourage, for now, have ignored any negotiation attempt by Barça to reduce their record and it seems quite clear that they will not enter this game,” the article further elaborated.
Laporta had recently revealed his stance on the summer saga and how he saw the player currently.
“I never wanted to sell Frenkie de Jong. He is one of our mainstays, a great talent, and is already one of the team leaders,” as per reports from Mundo Deportivo.
United think they are in pole position to strike in the summer of 2023
But United are aware of these negotiation tactics and are also aware of the complete breakdown in relationship between the playmaker and the club.
The Dutch playmaker had even revealed that he had felt “cheated and harassed during the summer” after the under-hand tricks employed by the board.
The Red Devils think they are in an advantageous position considering one year has passed and that the price will be lower considering all the drama that had transpired in the summer which had affected the player deeply.
“At United they understand that the footballer’s appraisal, with one year less on his contract, must be lower than what was offered last summer.
“They are going to try until the end, but what is clear is that it is the footballer who has the upper hand and will be the one who decides his sporting future in the coming months,” the report further clarified.
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