Manchester United could face late opposition for the signature of Dutch international Frenkie de Jong, according to a new report from Spain.
It has been widely reported from reliable sources that United have opened formal negotiations with Barcelona for the 25-year-old, who have rejected the Red Devils’ opening €60 million (£51m) plus €10 million ($8.5m) in bonuses bid.
It is believed that the Blaugrana want something closer to €80 million in cash, to bring them close to recouping the €86 million they paid Ajax for his services in 2019.
United, on the other hand, will not pay over the odds for the player and believe their offer is a fair reflection of his current market value as quoted by transfermarkt.com.
“Barcelona … remain under severe pressure to stabilise their finances – debts are still placed at around €1 billion – despite the demands of coach Xavi Hernandez to improve his squad,” The Telegraph’s Jason Burt writes.
“Selling De Jong will release funds to improve other areas of the team.
“Although United are keen to sign De Jong the club will not pay over-the-odds for the player and are prepared to walk away if a deal cannot be struck at what they regard as a reasonable price.
“It is understood there are other options being considered should they not sign De Jong.”
There is a suggestion here, as was also mooted in the Spanish press on Thursday, that United feel they have Barcelona over a barrel.
However, this situation would change significantly if other clubs were to join the fray and, lo and behold!, Sport are now claiming that some big names are making enquiries.
“In fact, not only are United after him, but it also seems that PSG, Bayern and City, all Champions League teams and who had already been interested in him when he ended up signing for Barça, would like to know his transfer conditions,” the Catalan outlet writes.
“That is why, before making a final decision, he prefers to know what plan all his suitors have. What is clear is that he is more seduced by playing in the most important European club tournament than not doing so.”
This is exactly what United fans wouldn’t want to hear at this stage, but how true are these claims? It is often the case in negotiations such as these that the selling club leaks such stories to the media to panic the buying club into increasing their offer.
Ironically, in the same vein it was reported yesterday that United’s name was being used in the case of Benfica striker Darwin Nunez to push up the price Liverpool were prepared to pay.
Fans will be hoping that this is the case with De Jong and that United can close the deal quickly at a price closer to the player’s true value.