Manchester United have been in touch with other midfielders at a time where they’re struggling to sign Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, it has been claimed. The 25-year-old is Erik ten Hag’s top transfer target. However, a deal for the Netherlands international remains up in the air despite a fee being agreed.
Manchester United and Barcelona agreed a fee for De Jong earlier this month, with the Red Devils prepared to pay an initial £63million to land the midfielder.
But with the player owed money at the Nou Camp, and reluctant to leave, the Red Devils are being forced to bide their time.
United would love to sign De Jong and, so far, have been putting all their resources into a deal.
Yet ESPN journalist Rob Dawson, speaking on The United Stand, has claimed the Red Devils have been in touch with other midfielders as the saga drags on.
“There are certainly other players on the list, but I get the impression that, for ten Hag, de Jong is such the ideal player that they want to do everything they possibly can to get that deal over the line,” he said.
“There may be a case of where Barcelona aren’t playing ball, or de Jong says he doesn’t want to come. He’ll [Erik ten Hag] then have to decide if he’s got a player in the squad, or if he needs to sign someone.
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“He’s [Erik ten Hag] come in, and set such high standards on the training pitch, with the way the club is run, his transfer targets, that he wants his number one [Frenkie de Jong].
“The danger is [with Frenkie de Jong] that there’s only a finite amount of time to get it done, as the deadline is quickly approaching. At what point do you pull the plug?
“I’m sure they have [been in contact with other midfielders]. I’m not suggesting they have a deal in place, but there will have been contact.
“They’ll know whether the player [other midfield targets] wants to come, they’ll know, vaguely, what the valuation is, what it’ll take to get a deal over the line. They’ll have all that information.”
Three midfielders have been linked with United amid their issues when it comes to snapping up De Jong.
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One player on their radar is Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, of Lazio.
The Serbia international flourished in Serie A last term, scoring 11 goals and clocking up 11 assists from 37 league matches.
United previously tried to sign Milinkovic-Savic back in the summer transfer window of 2018, when Jose Mourinho was manager.
Mourinho wanted to jettison Paul Pogba at the time, despite the midfielder starring as France won the World Cup that year.
And, four years on, and United are again being linked with the powerhouse amid their desire to strengthen their squad.
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A second name who could potentially join United this summer is Wolves’ Ruben Neves.
He was on the club’s radar in January, when Ralf Rangnick ruled the roost, only for a move to fail to materialise.
United have long believed Neves would be a good recruit – yet Wolves’ huge £100m asking price could count against them.
A third option is Youri Tielemans.
However, there’s a sense the Leicester star would prefer to join Arsenal instead – even though the Gunners appear to have other priorities.
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Whether United are able to sign De Jong remains to be seen.
Yet the fact they’re in contact with other midfielders suggests they’re planning for every possible outcome.
United have already lost two senior midfielders, not including Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata.
Pogba has sealed a Hollywood homecoming to Juventus, six years after he left the Allianz Stadium for Old Trafford.
And Nemanja Matic has reunited with Mourinho at Roma, having previously played under the Portuguese at United and Chelsea.
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