FC Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has suggested that he “wants” to remain at the club for “many more years” amid reports linking him with Man Utd.
De Jong was one of United’s main targets during the previous summer transfer window. One of Erik ten Hag’s priorities that window was to strengthen in midfield and he was keen to reunite with the former Ajax standout.
Barcelona were open to a transfer and they reached ‘full agreement’ with Man Utd, with the fee for De Jong potentially reaching €85m with add-ons.
The problem was that De Jong was insistent during the transfer window that he had no intention to leave Barcelona. United ended up looking elsewhere and brought in Casemiro from Real Madrid instead.
Recent reports have suggested that Man Utd are looking to sign a midfielder and striker later this year. It is also being reported that De Jong is once again their top summer target.
But when appearing on Catalan radio station RAC1 this week, De Jong was asked: “We will be quiet this summer, right? No Manchester United, no Erik ten Hag?” The player responded: “I’m very calm, happy. I want to stay at Barcelona for many more years”.
Speaking last month, Barcelona boss Xavi said: “He [De Jong] was very clear with me. He wanted to stay with us [last summer] and there was no doubt.”
This is a blow to Man Utd as they once again are going to be made to look at alternative targets. Speaking before their 7-0 loss to Liverpool, Robbie Savage claimed that the Red Devils will be one of the favourites to win the Premier League title next season if they sign De Jong and Harry Kane.
‘Add Harry Kane and Frenkie De Jong to this Manchester United squad and Erik Ten Hag could be presiding over front-runners for the title next year.
‘The transformation in United’s belief, and the change in mood from embarrassment to imperious in just six months, has been a tribute to the culture Ten Hag has developed at Old Trafford.
‘It has probably come too late for them to be serious title contenders this season, but after the 4-0 rout at Brentford, the 6-3 humiliation in the derby against City and Cristiano Ronaldo’s farewell strop, the manager has exerted his authority and his team looks miles better for it.
Savage added: ‘And watching that performance in the 2-2 draw against Barcelona – the best game I have seen since the World Cup final – I’m more convinced than ever.
‘If they bring in two key players in the summer, when there may be a generous budget if a takeover has happened at Old Trafford, and United are going to challenge for the Premier League crown next season.’