The start of the Premier League season is less than a week away and most of the title contenders have conducted their business fairly early in the transfer window so as to allow their recruits time to gel with the rest of the squad.
Manchester United have backed their new manager and gone for targets Erik ten Hag has specifically asked for. However, the biggest piece of the puzzle has remained elusive.
Over 13 weeks have passed since United began negotiations for the transfer of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong. Despite having a fee of €75 million plus another €10 million in add-ons agreed with the Catalan club, the issue of deferred wages have stalled the deal.
🗞 #mufc are continuing with their pursuit of Frenkie de Jong as their back-up targets are not deemed to be at the same level as the Barcelona midfielder. [Samuel Luckhurst, MEN]
— Utd District (@UtdDistrict) August 1, 2022
De Jong is owed €17 million and so far, Barca have refused to budge from their stance. And the Dutch international, on his part, has been very public about his refusal to leave the Catalan club.
FDJ open to United move
But now SPORT have revealed that the player is open to the idea of joining United but only once the issue of deferred wages has been resolved. He is aware that the Camp Nou outfit are looking to offload players and he is considering all options.
Interestingly, the Spanish outlet has also claimed that the former Ajax star is willing to listen to proposals but “first it must be clarified who pays the wages that were deferred, with bonuses included.” Yesterday, the same publication mentioned that United were willing to pay the deferred wages in order to get the deal over the line.
Ten Hag has insisted that his compatriot is key to his plans and despite numerous reports linking United with the likes of Youri Tielemans and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, it has always been a case of De Jong or bust.
Patience is a virtue
And MEN have claimed that the Red Devils are prepared to wait until the final days of the transfer window to close the deal and they feel emboldened due to Ten Hag’s rapport with the player and the conversation between the pair seems to indicate that if the wages mess is cleared up, the player will arrive despite what he has said in the past.
That confidence was visible after United’s friendly against Atletico Madrid at the Ullevaal Stadium. Football director John Murtough, who is in charge of the deal, was seen smiling after a fan shouted “get Frenkie”. United are said to be ready to back the manager to the hilt.
The publication also mentioned how United’s back-up targets were not deemed to be at the same level as De Jong.
FDJ key to Bernardo deal
Despite activating their third economic lever, the Blaugrana still need to sell players if they are to meet La Liga’s strict salary cap while also adding more players.
Barça president Laporta on Bernardo Silva deal: “Now we are focused on registering players we have signed and resolving the futures of the players not in the plans. After this, we will see what we can do”. ⚠️ #FCB
“Xavi wants more reinforcements”, Laporta added. pic.twitter.com/2EwwMWfeSU
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 1, 2022
Barca have already signed Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde despite debts of £1billion. And Xavi wants the club to sign Bernardo Silva from Manchester City. And for that to happen, De Jong’s departure needs to be secured.
According to Mundo Deportivo, the deal might take until the final stages of the transfer window with Barca already notifying the player that once the De Jong mess is cleared up, they will attempt to sign him.
Joan Laporta also hinted at something similar. “Now we are focused on registering players we have signed and resolving the futures of the players not in the plans. After this, we will see what we can do. Xavi wants more reinforcements,” the Barcelona president said during the unveiling of Kounde.
Fans will be unhappy to see United starting the season without their primary target and with a gaping hole in the midfield. But all will be forgiven if the De Jong deal eventually goes through.