Manchester United are determined to succeed under Erik ten Hag. And, with the summer transfer window creeping closer, it’s looking increasingly like they want to raid Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong. Should that happen, it’s feasible he’ll become the joint third-most-expensive signing in the club’s entire history.
It will be a big summer for United, especially given their woeful campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
The Red Devils are looking to overhaul their squad ahead of the Ten Hag era, with many of their current players facing uncertain futures.
Nemanja Matic has already confirmed he’ll be on the move this summer, five years after Jose Mourinho snapped him up from Chelsea.
And Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata are primed to leave as well, with the trio all part of the last United team to win a trophy under Mourinho’s guidance back in 2017.
Now, all signs are pointing to United going after De Jong.
The Barcelona star is happy at the Nou Camp and wants to stay with the club, having arrived from Ajax back in the summer transfer window of 2019.
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Unfortunately for the 25-year-old, however, the matter could be taken out of his hands.
Barcelona need to make a big sale before June 30 to balance their finances and De Jong, as well as goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, are two avenues for doing that.
Manchester City have distanced themselves from speculation tipping them to go for De Jong, while Bayern Munich lack the financial muscle required to strike a deal.
Therefore, it’s possible De Jong will quit Barcelona to play under Ten Hag at United and in the Premier League.
It was reported on Wednesday that the Red Devils were weighing up whether to make an opening bid worth £75million.
And if that ends up being enough, then De Jong would become the joint third most-expensive signing in the club’s entire history.
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Paying £75m would still be £14m less than the £89m they paid to land Pogba from Juventus back in the summer transfer window of 2016.
And it would also be lower than the £80m they paid for Harry Maguire upon bringing him in from Leicester in 2019.
Any £75m deal for De Jong would cost the same amount as when the club landed Romelu Lukaku in 2017.
The Belgian didn’t live up to expectations, however, and was sold by Solskjaer to Inter Milan for a similar amount after just two years with the club.
The fee for De Jong would also be higher than the £73m the club splurged on Jadon Sancho 12 months ago.
And it would be significantly more than the £59.7m they forked out for Angel Di Maria during Louis van Gaal’s time at the club.
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Whether United sign De Jong remains to be seen.
But, if he does arrive, he’d become the club’s tenth signing from La Liga.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United snapped Jordi Cruyff, Quentin Fortune, Ricardo, Gerard Pique and David De Gea.
With Van Gaal in charge, Di Maria, Ander Herrera and Victor Valdes arrived from Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona respectively.
And, since then, Eric Bailly and Raphael Varane have both joined.
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Speaking earlier in the season, meanwhile, De Jong was asked about his long-term future at Barcelona.
And he made it abundantly clear he wanted to stay put, saying he’d pen a lengthy contract if one was offered to him.
“I love being at Barcelona,” the Dutchman told ZiggoSport when asked about his future.
“I’d probably sign a six-year contract extension if they’d propose me, yes.
“Something happening with FC Bayern? No, no. I am so happy at Barcelona and I would love to play here for as long as possible.”