Man Utd handed huge boost in Frenkie de Jong pursuit as Barcelona make admission

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New United boss Erik ten Hag is a huge admirer of the former star of his Ajax side and is hopeful of convincing the midfielder to follow him to Old Trafford this summer

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Erik ten Hag sets out plans for Man Utd

Manchester United have been handed a huge boost in their pursuit of Frenkie de Jong with Barcelona admitting that they may need to sell the star this summer.

Central midfield is an area in which United need to bolster their options ahead of several key departures this term. De Jong has been identified as a candidate, according to reports in the Catalan press, who claim new United boss Erik Ten Hag is hoping he can convince his former player to join him in the Premier League.

United confirmed the appointment of Ten Hag earlier this month and his ongoing assessment of his new squad of players continued as he attended his first United match in person as he watched them lose against Crystal Palace on the final day of the Premier League season. De Jong starred under Ten Hag at Ajax and the latter is hoping to reunite with the midfield ace.

De Jong has been at Camp Nou since moving in the summer of 2019 for £ 63million (€ 75m). The Catalans are struggling financially and there were suggestions that they might welcome a hefty bid for some of their players, but the Dutchman is among those they would be more inclined to keep. De Jong faces competition from the likes of Gavi and Pedri – teenage midfield stars at Camp Nou.

Barca have a deal in place to sign midfielder Frank Kessie from Milan while Sergio Busquets still commands a starting spot in Xavi Hernandez’s side, while Nico Gonzalez has also broken through into the squad. United are short on central midfielders with Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba both leaving this summer as free agents, with only Scott McTominay and Fred remaining as naturals in the position.

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The Blaugrana’s president Joan Laporta has now addressed the issue directly and admitted that the Dutchman may have to be sold in the summer transfer window. The Barca chief confirmed he wanted De Jong to stay at the Camp Nou but that they had received offers for his transfer and the issue may be out of their hands.

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De Jong’s form has dipped in the past year but Barcelona will not let him go without a fight
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Laporta has said of De Jong: “He has a lot of quality, he knows our system and he’s a player we think should continue at Barça. But it is also true that he’s a highly coveted player and we have had proposals from others. Right now “Everything is open. It will depend a lot on the issue of fair play.”

That contradicts recent comments from Barca boss Xavi, who claimed that De Jong is the ‘future’ of the club and would be retained beyond this season even if there were other clubs interested in his signing.

Those comments complemented those of Xavi’s predecessor Ronald Koeman – who will coach De Jong for the Netherlands again next year – who explained last month: “Barça do not want to sell Frenkie. He’s a great player, a great midfielder. He’s gone through some “games where he has not been at his level. I do not doubt him, for me he’s a permanent fixture with the Netherlands. I hope he gets back to his level.”

United are likely to undergo significant squad upheaval this summer with Ten Hag inheriting his former Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek, who may once again play alongside De Jong should their plans come off.

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