Home » Frenkie De Jong’s relationship with Erik ten Hag “not particularly special”, says The Athletic

Frenkie De Jong’s relationship with Erik ten Hag “not particularly special”, says The Athletic

by Red Billy

The Athletic has painted a rather gloomy picture of the likelihood of Frenkie de Jong joining Manchester United this summer.

The club has agreed a €75 million plus €10 million transfer with Barcelona for the player, who has so far refused to leave the Camp Nou.

There has been immense speculation as to whether this is simply to ensure that Barça pay him the €17/€18 million in deferred wages they owe him or whether he simply does not want to leave the club he has supported since he was a boy.

The Blaugrana are desperate for the Dutchman to leave so that they can register several new players whilst complying with the salary capping placed on them by La Liga.

And so far many have believed that United are right to play a waiting game and that the Old Trafford club must have been told by the player or his agent that he will come.

But reporter Dermot Corrigan is not so sure.

“Multiple sources, who wished not to be named owing to sensitive relations with Barcelona, who are close to different squad members, those in and out of favour with Xavi and Laporta, have told The Athletic that everyone in the team has got used to living, training and performing amid this atmosphere,” the reporter says.

“One who knows De Jong well said all this summer’s noise would not bother the 25-year-old.

“Viewed from the Barcelona dressing room, a move to Manchester United is not that attractive, even if United were to agree to meet all the financial commitments in De Jong’s Barca contract.

“… He did not have a particularly special relationship with Ten Hag when at Ajax. There has been plenty of turbulence at Old Trafford in recent years and especially this summer — De Jong is likely to share Cristiano Ronaldo’s view on playing in the Europa League this season.”

The Athletic is known for being a reliable outlet, so this report is concerning and raises the unfortunate possibility that United have really come this far without having reassurances from the player that he does want to join them.

The other possibility, of course, is that De Jong and/or his representatives have deliberately misled United on the matter, but it is unclear as to what could be gained at this stage by the player.

Corrigan does concede that this could still be a case of the 25 year old “playing hardball”, but he does not seem convinced.

If his sources are right, United would be well advised to abandon their pursuit as soon as possible and get to work on finding a suitable alternative with the new season just 12 days away.

Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans, Wolves’ Ruben Neves, PSV’s Ibrahim Sangaré and Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic are among the names rumoured to be on the shortlist, although yesterday transfer guru Fabrizio Romano said that De Jong is United’s “Plan A, B and C”.

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