Manchester United are set to submit a second bid for Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong, according to reports. And the La Liga giants are aware they can’t get the huge fee that has been reported in the Spanish press. Erik ten Hag is hellbent on securing a reunion with his fellow Dutchman, having previously managed the midfielder at Ajax.
According to the Manchester Evening News, United will imminently submit a formal bid to Barcelona as they look to bring De Jong to Old Trafford this summer.
They recently made an opening offer of £51.64million plus add-ons for the midfielder, with Ten Hag eager for the club to land the Netherlands international as he looks to build a dynasty at his new club.
Barcelona are said to ‘privately conceded’ they cannot obtain the £90m fee that has been mooted in the Spanish press, despite their desire to sell the 25-year-old in order to balance their finances.
They previously spent £65m on the player back in the summer transfer window of 2019, after he impressed for Ajax amid their surge to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Barcelona are prepared to sell De Jong and want a guaranteed £64.55m for their midfield maestro, as well as add-ons to ensure they get more than what they originally paid for him.
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United, for their part, do have alternatives on their wishlist.
Some of them will be cheaper but the Red Devils are said to have spent the majority of June working to negotiate a deal for the player.
Sources are quoted as saying United are ‘negotiating hard’ as they look to get this deal over the line as quickly as possible so they can move on to other targets.
Behind the scenes, the Red Devils think they’d have damaged their hopes of bolstering other areas of the squad if they’d met Barcelona’s initial demands.
It’s stated that Christian Eriksen, Antony, a centre-back and a back-up goalkeeper are all signings Ten Hag would like to make in his first summer at the helm.
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United reportedly first approached Barcelona on May 11, which was the same night when Ten Hag guided Ajax to title glory.
John Murtough jetted out to meet the 52-year-old the following day, with the duo then having additional recruitment meetings.
Ten Hag has reached out to De Jong to alleviate any concerns about playing for the Red Devils, who have failed to win a trophy since 2017 – back when Jose Mourinho was manager.
Barcelona had high hopes when they initially added the Netherlands international to their squad.
But De Jong has often struggled for consistency, blowing hot and cold under the likes of Ernesto Valverde, Quique Setien, Ronald Koeman and Xavi during his stint in Catalonia.
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United supremo Richard Arnold, meanwhile, was asked about Ten Hag over the weekend.
The Red Devils chief sat down with a group of supporters who had been planning to protest outside his family home.
And Arnold said: “As a club we’re doing everything possible to get the deal done.
“I’ve been up for days trying to get it done. The money is there but there’s things standing in our way which I can’t say.”
And he also said: “It’s that the manager wants him, that they’ve actually done the work on looking if he’s a great player.”