Manchester United is keeping in touch with potential midfield targets while negotiating with Barcelona about a deal for Frenkie de Jong.
United have begun discussions with the Catalan giants in the hopes of completing a deal for the 25-year-old this summer, but the two clubs’ valuations of the Dutch midfielder are currently at odds.
Erik ten Hag’s first aim for improving United’s midfield is De Jong, and the two worked well together at Ajax before De Jong’s departure to the Nou Camp in the summer of 2019.
He thought it would be a “dream” move, but Barcelona’s financial woes have forced them to contemplate selling De Jong, and the player has accepted that he may have to go this summer.
Despite the fact that United are unable to deliver Champions League football, De Jong is interested in returning to Old Trafford and reuniting with Ten Hag, who has made upgrading the midfield his top goal since taking over as manager last month.
United insiders claim that football director John Murtough is in talks with his Barcelona counterparts, but they are determined that they would not overpay for De Jong, who is presently playing for Holland in the Nations League.
If Barcelona’s valuation of De Jong continues to disappoint them, reports in Spain believe it might be as high as €100 million, United are willing to move on to other targets, and it is understood they have held negotiations with representatives of prospective alternatives.
United have expressed interest in Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips, but their Premier League survival on the penultimate day may have made it a more difficult trade to complete. Phillips is also coveted by Manchester City, and a move to the Etihad could be preferable for a player who hails from a Leeds supporter family and is mindful of the optics of a move to Old Trafford.
Ten Hag also spoke to Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch about following him to Old Trafford this summer, but the 20-year-old is poised to join Bayern Munich.