Man Utd pressing to sign Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong
Manchester United are pressing to secure the services of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo claims.
The Red Devils are aiming to bolster their central midfield department this summer with the expected departures of Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba on free transfers.
De Jong has been earmarked as the main transfer target, and Mundo Deportivo report that the club are ‘pressing’ to finalise a suitable agreement for a summer move.
A deal worth €80 million (£68m) is very close to being agreed, but the major obstacle remains to persuade De Jong, who is determined to play Champions League football.
United boss Erik ten Hag has made it a ‘priority’ to sign his former Ajax player, and it is reported that the 52-year-old is ‘convinced that he would be able to convince’ him.
The Red Devils may still need to act fast with Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain keeping tabs on the transfer situation of the midfielder.
De Jong played as a regular defensive midfielder at Ajax, but since his move to Barcelona, he has occupied the central midfield position with Sergio Busquets behind him.
The Dutchman recently acknowledged that he prefers to play as the number 6. It remains to be seen whether that happens with the Red Devils next season.
Ten Hag has a good relationship with De Jong, having aided his development at Ajax. He could be instrumental in convincing the 25-year-old to join United.
Barcelona could also push him towards the exit door to sort out their financial problems. United still need a quick decision to avoid concrete interest from elsewhere.
So far, United appear the only club in direct negotiations with the Catalan giants, but they should be wary of a late transfer approach from one of their European rivals.
They have reportedly set a deadline of June 15 for a final decision on De Jong. If there is not a positive response from the player, they are better off pursuing other targets.
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