Manchester United’s number one target in the current transfer window, Frenkie de Jong is reportedly only willing to leave Barcelona for Premier League rivals, Chelsea.
The Blaugrana midfielder has been widely linked with a move to the Red Devils all summer but has so far shown no appetite or inclination towards making such a switch.
A possible deal for the Dutchman has also been complicated by an issue over the player’s deferred wages, that he is owed by the Spanish giants. However, the midfield maestro remains Erik ten Hag’s primary target in the middle of the park, with the manager said to even be willing to wait until the season starts for a reunion with his former player.
In yet another blow United have been dealt with in their pursuit of the 25-year-old, the player is said to only have eyes for Chelsea in the event that staying in Spain was to become untenable.
According to the Daily Mail, De Jong is said to harbor real concerns regarding the way United is run, in what is described as an ‘erratic manner.’
“The former Ajax star is said to hold real concerns over how United functions, with the player’s view, said to be that it is run ‘erratically’ by management, and that deters him from wanting to link back up with his former boss.”
The London club is also said to appeal to the player, on account of the fact they can offer Champions League football, a competition that appeals to the player.
Jacob Ranson reports on the player’s Chelsea preference over Old Trafford, “He is also said to appreciate the ‘project’ and ‘structure’ that is being built under new controlling owner Todd Boehly.”
Chelsea are not willing to pay as much as United, who already have a broad agreement and payment structure in place with Barcelona for the permanent sale of the midfielder. Barcelona are desperate to move the player on and get his wages off their books, which would also allow them to register new signings Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.
Another factor that may work in favor of the Red Devils is the fact that the Blues have been embroiled in transfer battles with the Catalan club over several targets, including Jules Kounde, who the two clubs are currently at war over.
Barca may be reluctant to sell to Chelsea under such hostile circumstances. “Chelsea have moved to block Marcos Alonso’s transfer to Barca after the Catalan club snatched Jules Kounde from under their noses.”
“The Blues are also reluctant to allow fellow defender Cesar Azpilicueta to complete his move to the Nou Camp in what is becoming an increasingly fractious and complicated set of negotiations.”
Spanish news outlet Diario Sport report that tensions between the two clubs have heightened, with the Kounde deal being the primary reason.
With De Jong clearly not fancying a move to the Theatre of Dreams, it may reach a time where United chiefs may need to pull the plug and move on to alternative targets. Patience is required in such a complex operation, which appears to be a series of cat and mouse games with several dynamics in play at the moment.