According to ESPN, Manchester United are preparing themselves for a potential transfer saga continuation in January.
Although United signed Christian Eriksen and Casemiro, who are already showing signs of being incredibly profitable players at Old Trafford, a move for another midfielder could be on the horizon. The midfielder in question is, once again, Frenkie de Jong.
The Frenkie de Jong escapade lasted for three months in the summer as Erik ten Hag made it clear that the Barcelona midfielder was his priority target.
Chief executive Richard Arnold and Director of football John Murtough had even travelled to the Catalan city and agreed a deal in principle. The Barcelona chiefs were keen to eject De Jong from Camp Nou given the extortionate amount of deferred wages which they still owe him and the Spanish FA’s salary cap rules.
De Jong maintained the same stance throughout the summer – he wanted to stay at his dream club in La Liga. United eventually accepted defeat and acquiesced into spending almost double of the initial transfer budget following a disastrous start to the season and an eagerness to back their new manager.
With such, Murtough has already thrown caution to the wind regarding there being any movement in the winter market. United’s name may have consequently been attached to this report as a response to last summer’s fevered interest. ESPN did note that United would have to “juggle their finances” if they are to become involved in any significant deal this January.
This season has not been the most fruitful for the Dutchman, however, with Gavi, Pedri, and Busquets being the preferred choices in Xavi’s midfield. He has started just five matches in all competitions this season.
Xavi did, however, praise the former Ajax player after his stellar performance against Villareal last night, seeming to open the door for De Jong to try and cement himself in Barcelona’s starting eleven again.
‘He is convincing me to be in the middle of midfield for this team, he was very good and I’m so happy for him,’ he said.
Barcelona are also on the verge of being knocked out from the Champions League. They sit three points behind Inter Milan and eight points behind Bayern Munich with two fixtures remaining. Champions League football had been viewed as a crucial aspect in De Jong’s decision to stay.
Moreover, the Barca hierarchy are still vying to decrease excess spending by selling inessential players.
Rob Dawson and James Olley of ESPN have reported that alongside United, Chelsea would also reignite their interest should De Jong give the green light. Todd Boehly has shown his willingness to spend large amounts of cash and buy big players. Chelsea also dealt with Barcelona on several occasions during the summer – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marcos Alonso being the successful negotiations.
N’Golo Kanté will be on the sideline for around four months after he underwent hamstring surgery this week. Boehly could look to supplement the midfield options and impress Graham Potter by purchasing a ball-playing defensive midfielder fitting with the new manager’s philosophy.
Liverpool are also reported to be ready to enter the market for a new midfielder. ESPN’s sources detailed that the club have already made initial contact with De Jong’s representatives.
Furthermore, De Jong is represented by Ali Dursan of HCM Sports Management. The agency was involved in some form of capacity in negotiations for Tyrell Malacia, Donny van de Beek and Victor Lindelöf’s transfers to United. Boehly is said to hold an amicable dialogue with the company as well.
What is worth noting is that all three clubs have been linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham next summer – a saga that is expected to cause a whirlwind of suitors, bids, and stories. De Jong would cost half the price, be the more feasible signing, and cause less of a frenzy.
Yet again, whether De Jong wants to break his contract with his dream club seems to be the key question in any potential transfer.
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