Manchester United are close to giving up on signing Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona this summer.
The Mail report the United hierarchy are resigned to missing out on their number one transfer target, after months of negotiations.
United had reportedly agreed a fee for the midfielder but the issue of De Jong’s unpaid wages have held the transfer up.
Barcelona owe the Dutchman roughly 17 million Euros in wages, deferred throughout the COVID period.
De Jong’s preference is to stay at Barcelona, a team he describes as the best in the world. However, the Catalan club are demanding De Jong agrees to a pay cut and accepts only part of the owed wages, if he is to stay.
Barcelona’s need to raise funds has been the key factor in United pursuing the transfer, believing the Spanish giants will have to sell before the end of the window.
Despite the financial issues, Barca have spent over 150 million Euros on new signings this summer. De Jong was seen as the chief fund raiser, to balance the books.
It is believed United boss Erik ten Hag has been in regular contact with De Jong and was United’s trump card in getting the deal over the line.
However, with Chelsea now willing to match United’s bid and having the ability to offer him Champions League football, Stamford Bridge has emerged as his most likely destination should De Jong be forced out of the Camp Nou.
The failure to land De Jong would represent a huge blow to Ten Hag, who was hoping for a reunion with the player he worked so well with, at Ajax.
De Jong’s style is one that perfectly suits the way Ten Hag wants to play and would offer a serious upturn in quality to a midfield that is in dire need of reinforcement.
With only three weeks left in the window, United face a desperate scramble to provide Ten Hag with a team capable of challenging for the top four this season.
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