Manchester United fans will be hoping that the win against Liverpool on Monday is just a sign of things to come. Despite the memorable victory, Erik ten Hag still has quite the task on his hands.
The current United squad remains bloated in certain areas while other parts of the group are either lacking in terms of numbers or in terms of quality.
And the Dutchman wants more incomings and outgoings so as to have the ideal squad as the Red Devils prepare to challenge on all four fronts this season.
The defence has seen the introduction of Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia, both of whom were impressive against the team from Merseyside. Free agent Christian Eriksen is one of the few players to come out unscathed from the opening three games.
🚨 Manchester United have all but given up on their pursuit of Frenkie De Jong. It's considered over.
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) August 24, 2022
The Liverpool game also saw new recruit Casemiro being paraded in front of a packed Old Trafford crowd and he watched from the stands as his new teammates fought like lions to secure the first win of the campaign.
United out of the running?
But the Brazilian midfield general was not always Ten Hag’s first choice. The Dutchman had made it clear that he wants Barcelona playmaker Frenkie de Jong to join but despite agreeing a deal with the Catalan club, no headway has been made regarding the deal for three months now.
The Netherlands international has always publicly maintained that he wants to stay and fight for his place. But with financial issues crippling Barca, there was little to no chance that the Camp Nou outfit would be able to pay his deferred wages.
United had already agreed a fee and Ten Hag had even called up his former Ajax protege but the issue of deferred wages proved to be a major stumbling block.
And now that Casemiro has joined the 20-time English champions for around €70million, De Jong’s chances of reuniting with his former boss seems to have evaporated.
Frenkie’s choices diminishing
Chelsea were also keen on the Dutch playmaker but Thomas Tuchel has other priorities at the moment and he has practically ruled out any deal for midfielders.
That has left only Bayern Munich on the negotiating table. The Bavarian giants want a loan deal at first with a buy option included, a trick they had employed for another Barca operator — Philippe Coutinho.
At the moment, Barcelona have little intention of loaning him out as they would prefer a permanent exit. But due to limited options, this might be the only possible solution at the moment.
Marca have confirmed that De Jong is likely to make €21 million gross this season, without the inclusion of bonuses. Next year, the figure will reach as high as €28 million.
Barca have time and again asked the player to agree to a pay cut but the player and his entourage have been unwilling to accept such a request.
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