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Erik ten Hag’s persistent pursuit of Barcelona sensation Frenkie de Jong has received another boost ahead of the summer transfer window.
The Manchester United manager named De Jong, 25, as his top transfer target last summer but ultimately failed to complete a deal, despite the two European heavyweights agreeing to a £56million transfer fee in July.
Ten Hag had been disappointed that the midfielder, who was impressive in Thursday’s 1-0 triumph over archrivals Real Madrid, refused to leave his “dream club” Barcelona, despite the La Liga giants making him feel unwelcome and hoping that his sale would help alleviate their well-documented financial problems.
Barca’s Finances could Mean De Jong Departure
About a year after rumors initially surfaced that De Jong was being pursued by his former manager at Ajax, Barca’s financial condition has not improved, and they continue to be in dire straits.
Camp Nou officials have been informed that they will be unable to buy any new players this summer and must fund £178 million if they want to renew their squad.
This is good news for Ten Hag, who recently compiled a six-player transfer wishlist for United bosses.
In light of Barcelona’s financial difficulties, the Manchester Evening News reports that United’s manager has instructed his superiors to pursue an arrangement with De Jong once more.
Ten Hag is rumored to be a major fan of English star Jude Barnes, who is expected to depart Borussia Dortmund in the near future amid rumors of a mega-money transfer to Real Madrid, Liverpool, or Manchester City.
In addition to seeking to strengthen his midfield, Ten Hag wants to bring in a new striker to lead Old Trafford’s attack.
United are rumored to have long-term interest in Tottenham superstar Harry Kane and Napoli sensation Victor Osimhen, as well as Benfica star Goncalo Ramos and Ajax forward Mohamed Kudus, whom Ten Hag coached in Amsterdam.
De Jong’s name remains at the top of Ten Hag’s list at this time. According to the latest reports, the Dutch international has become increasingly enticed to the prospect of playing for United and forming a mouth-watering midfield combo with Casemiro, who Man United signed in August after De Jong turned down their offers.
De Jong’s Barca Form could make Transfer Tricky
The fact that Barcelona are also experiencing a revival and that De Jong has played a pivotal part under Xavi this season is a significant obstacle.
His performances in Catalonia have pleased Xavi, who, unlike the Barcelona board, is hesitant to break ways with De Jong. De Jong frequently operates in a midfield triangle alongside the famous Sergio Busquets and emerging youngster Pedri.
“He was very clear with me [last summer],” Xavi said recently. ”
He wanted to stay with us and there was no doubt,” the Spanish manager told the media ahead of last month’s Europa League clash with United.
“He is our player and I am very happy and satisfied with his performance and leadership. He is in a great moment, like the whole team. I think he is having a good time well on the field, which is the most important thing.”