Despite losing out on Benfica striker Darwin Nunez to Liverpool, Manchester United officials are apparently “not afraid to walk away” from discussions for Frenkie de Jong this summer.
Given that fellow countryman Erik ten Hag has taken over as manager at Old Trafford, the Red Devils have been extensively linked with a transfer for the Dutchman. With the departures of Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, and Jesse Lingard, as well as the possibility of Nemanja Matic, United is in need of midfield reinforcements.
De Jong has been mentioned as one of the candidates to replace the quartet, but it remains to be seen if a deal can be struck for his services. According to Goal’s James Robson, United officials are in talks to sign the player who is Ten Hag’s “top midfield target.”
According to the source, while the club is eager to sign him, they are not scared to walk away from a deal if the Blaugrana makes his price too high. “United are in contact with Barcelona for De Jong,” Robson said on Twitter.
“He’s Ten Hag’s main midfield target, but he’s not his only one. Dedicated to closing the deal yet not scared to walk away.” This was quickly followed by a tweet suggesting that the club had conceded defeat to their bitter rivals as they sought a new attacker ahead of the upcoming season.
“It appears that United are willing to leave Liverpool to Nunez,” he added. “[They] do not wish to engage in a bidding battle with Liverpool.”
United has a history of paying exorbitant prices for players that many belief are not worth the price. Pogba was signed for a then-world record of £87 million in 2016, but his lackluster second stint at Old Trafford led to his exit this season.
Ten Hag’s arrival may be the reason why United is wary of being outbid in discussions this summer, given their need for a team reconstruction.
Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips are believed to be other targets. However, with agreements for the English two seeming scarce, there is a strong incentive to buy a starting midfielder.