The summer transfer window has passed and Manchester United ended their shopping spree with six new players which includes two defenders, two midfielders and one winger and goalkeeper.
When Erik ten Hag was first appointed, he had identified the defence and midfield as areas in need of reinforcements considering the disastrous 2021-22 season.
A list of targets was drawn and handed over to the club hierarchy. Despite a sluggish start, there was a flurry of activity towards the fag end of the window with high-profile stars such as Casemiro and Antony arriving at Old Trafford for record-breaking sums.
FDJ was the main target
But the former Real Madrid midfielder was not the Dutch manager’s preferred choice. He had wanted a reunion with Barcelona playmaker Frenkie de Jong.
The pair had worked together at Ajax and the Dutch manager had personally called his compatriot to explain how important he would be to his plans in Manchester.
United had even agreed a fee with the Catalan giants for De Jong but in the end, a mixture of deferred wages, the player not wanting to leave his ‘dream club’ meant the deal never came to fruition with United landing the Brazilian midfield general instead.
🎖🚨 #MUFC and Chelsea will continue to monitor the situation of Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong, 25, at Barcelona before a possible move for the player in January @caughtoffside pic.twitter.com/l3daMPdCMr
— ElectricUnited (@ElectricUnited_) September 6, 2022
The Netherlands international decided to stay put at the La Liga side and that has caused resentment in the club due to both economic and sporting reasons.
Spanish publication SPORT have mentioned that the 25-year-old is yet to agree to a reduction in salary like his peers and is in no mood to relent.
Problems galore, could lead to FDJ move
The club’s financial situation dictated his departure and despite their best attempts to engineer a move to either of United or Chelsea, De Jong refused to leave. Furthermore, “he felt annoyed by the treatment received by the club, pushing him to leave the entity.”
Now that the new season has started, De Jong has found himself at the periphery of Xavi’s plans. He has started only one of his side’s opening four La Liga matches with the coach preferring the trifecta of Gavi, Pedri alongside Sergio Busquets.
Even tactically, “The Dutchman still doesn’t fit perfectly into the automatisms that Xavi wants in midfield. It is difficult for him to assume the positional game and much more to play the role of pivot when Sergio Busquets is not there,” the article mentions.
And now, La Liga chief Javier Tebas has come out and explained that Barca will need to reduce their wage bill ahead of next season which has once again ignited rumours of a potential move to United which could happen even in January.
“Barça has to reduce the wage bill. Next year there will be no levers and they will have to reduce the salary limit that may correspond to them, which will be 400-odd million euros,” he was quoted as saying by Express.