After a protracted period of playing cat-and-mouse, it seems like new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is finally set to land his primary target in Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong. The Times have reported that the Red Devils are finally closing in on their first signing of the summer.
United have agreed to pay a sizeable fee upfront which the Catalan giants had always wanted. The fee is set to be around €80 million, a huge cash injection for the beleaguered Spanish club.
The Camp Nou outfit were holding out for €85 million, considering the financial issues crippling the club. And United, aware of the Spanish giants’ need to raise funds, had been trying to lowball them with bids of €60 million and €70 million plus add-ons.
Barcelona and Man Utd want to close De Jong transfer before Thursday https://t.co/Kw5exrrF43
— SPORT English (@Sport_EN) June 26, 2022
Both were outright rejected by the Blaugrana. However, Sport reported that due to club’s having to close its financial accounts by June, the deal is likely to be closed by Thursday, the last day of June.
The English giants want to tie down the Dutch international to a five-year deal, with De Jong set to earn more than what he was getting in Spain.
The move marks the conclusion of a long-running saga which sees United land their main target in time for the Dutchman to get integrated into his new side.
Transfer finally happening
De Jong, who has played under Ten Hag, was reluctant to move to Manchester as he viewed Barcelona as his dream club. He was not ready to quit the new project under Xavi without attaining success.
But due to the five-time European champions’ willingness to move him on and Ten Hag’s charm offensive, the Copa del Rey winner has been forced to consider the 20-time English champions.
Lack of Champions League football was a worry but becoming the fulcrum of the new Ten Hag project at Old Trafford was instrumental in changing his outlook towards the move.
Personal terms are yet to be agreed but that is not expected to be a problem.
Barca had bought the former Ajax playmaker in the summer of 2019-20 for an initial fee worth €75 million. And the Catalan club refused to take a hit on the 25-year-old which meant United’s attempts at lowering the fee went the distance.
But with the deal increasingly likely to happen, fans will be hoping that this finally opens the floodgates and more signings follow De Jong to Old Trafford so that the Ten Hag era can finally begin in earnest.