Man Utd handed boost in signing Frenkie de Jong
Manchester United have been given encouragement in the pursuit of Frenkie de Jong amid Barcelona’s desire to sign Jules Kounde, according to reports.
The Red Devils have already agreed a transfer fee (£63 million) with the Catalan giants for De Jong, but the Dutch star has not given the green light to join them.
The Netherlands ace is reluctant to consider an exit until his deferred wages (£14.4m) are paid, and it appears Barcelona are now making progress towards the same.
According to The Independent, Barcelona are keen to sell De Jong to United in the near future. His departure would help them recoup funds to sign Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.
Chelsea have already agreed a fee of £50m with Sevilla for the 23-year-old, but Barcelona are still confident of signing him as they are his preferred transfer destination.
As a result, talks are underway between Barcelona and De Jong to settle his outstanding wages, but the club’s offer is still £8.5m less than the deferred salary owed to him.
De Jong has been operating as a central defender during Barcelona’s pre-season campaign, and it provides a hint that he could struggle to start in midfield next season.
Sergi Busquets has been a mainstay as the captain of the team while summer signing Franck Kessie is also expected to command a regular role under manager Xavi.
This leaves just one midfield position vacant. There are no assurances of De Jong cementing the spot with the presence of Pedri and Gavi, who are a key part of the club’s future.
Hence, there are no surprises that the Blaugrana are trying to push De Jong through the exit door. The club need to make a big sale before pursuing the services of Jules Kounde.
They are yet to repay De Jong’s deferred wages, but negotiations over the outstanding sum suggest that Barcelona also want a quick resolution such that the player can move on.
This should play into the hands of United, who have already agreed a transfer fee for him. If De Jong were to move, a reunion with manager Erik ten Hag should be a tempting prospect.
The 52-year-old played a key part in his development at former club Ajax. De Jong excelled from a holding midfield role, and Ten Hag may play him in a similar position at United.
De Jong is not a tough tackler by any means, but his awareness and ball control makes him a quality fit for the number six role. He has also completed over 91 per cent passes in his career.
He should provide with the stability in front of the defence that has been lacking over recent seasons.
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