Man Utd's worst ever Premier League season
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Manchester United reportedly think they’re close to completing a deal to sign Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong. The Netherlands international has emerged as a top transfer target for new boss Erik ten Hag. The duo previously worked at Ajax together and, now, a reunion at Old Trafford may take place.
Manchester United know they need to revamp their midfield under Ten Hag, having endured a horrendous campaign under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
And, over the past 24 hours, links to Barcelona star De Jong have intensified amid uncertainty over his Nou Camp future.
Now, journalist Ekrem Konur has claimed United ‘believe they are close’ to securing the signature of the Netherlands international.
That came after he’d claimed the Red Devils were willing to pay in the region of £72million to £77m to bring the player to Old Trafford this summer.
It would certainly be an exciting signing for United, even if there have been conflicting reports over whether or not De Jong would want to come.
At the current moment in time, his preference appears to be staying at Barcelona.
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He’s been at the club ever since 2019, when he left Ajax after dazzling under Ten Hag amid their surge to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
But De Jong has often struggled for consistency during that time.
Playing under different managers hasn’t helped his cause, with the 25-year-old performing under Ernesto Valverde, Quique Setien, Ronald Koeman and Xavi during his time in Catalonia.
Barcelona could now let De Jong leave in order to balance their finances, with the club needing to make a big sale by June.
And Xavi may then build his midfield around youngsters such as Gavi and Pedri, who are products of the club’s academy.
United, if they do land De Jong, will be delighted with his signing.
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And it would offset the departure of Paul Pogba, who is likely to leave the club on a free transfer this summer.
Real Madrid, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have all been linked with the 2018 World Cup winner at a time where he’s poised to depart.
But Juventus appear to be Pogba’s priority, with the midfielder previously spending four years in Turin between 2012 and 2016.
Nemanja Matic is also set to leave United behind, having already announced his decision to leave.
The Serbia international could reunite with Jose Mourinho at Roma, with the duo previously working at United and Chelsea together.
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Jesse Lingard is another player preparing to leave Old Trafford behind, too.
The England international had hoped to be a key player for United this term after dazzling for West Ham last season.
Yet that hasn’t happened, with the 29-year-old a peripheral figure under both Rangnick and Solskjaer.
West Ham, as well as Newcastle, PSG, AC Milan and Roma, have all been linked with the playmaker.
And another casualty will be Juan Mata who, after arriving in 2014 under David Moyes, is now primed to pursue a new challenge elsewhere.
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Meanwhile, speaking recently, Barcelona boss Xavi insisted De Jong would be a key part of his plans for many years to come.
He said last month: “He has to be a player that makes the difference and he does.
“There aren’t many players with his quality in the world.
“He’s the present and the future [at Barca]. He is a very important player for me.
“He’s capable, strong, he gets into the box… He has had some excellent games, but he has to be consistent.”
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