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Frenkie de Jong linked with Manchester United move

There is a “95-percent chance” the deal happens, per FC Barcelona journalist Gerard Romero

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FC Barcelona v RCD Mallorca - La Liga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Manchester United is closing in on the signing of FC Barcelona central midfielder Frenkie de Jong this summer, according to multiple reports.

There is a 95-percent chance the Dutchman will join the Premier League side this summer for a €70-80 million fee, per Barcelona journalist Gerard Romero. Barça would ideally like to keep de Jong, but the Catalan club’s financial situation and the midfielder’s market value could lead to his sale this summer.

United and Barcelona are in contact about de Jong, per Fabrizio Romano, but an agreement between the clubs isn’t close as of Thursday afternoon.

With Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba likely leaving on free transfers in the upcoming transfer window, United’s midfield is thin and needs strengthening. De Jong’s potential transfer to the Premier League side would instantly improve the Red Devils’ holding and box-to-box midfield options and reunite him with incoming manager Erik ten Hag, who the 25-year-old midfielder starred under and saw some of his best form while playing for Ajax.

The Dutch pair are reportedly interested in working together again, per 90min. De Jong would also likely be reunited with Donny van de Beek, who is currently on loan at Everton. The midfield pair, who share agent Ali Dursun, were the stars of Ajax’s run to the semifinal of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League, and having both players in the squad would give ten Hag trusted options for next season.

De Jong joined Barcelona in 2019 in a highly-anticipated €86 million move, but for one reason or another he hasn’t necessarily lived up to Blaugrana fans’ expectations. The Dutchman has only tallied four goals and five assists this season in all competitions, and he has only recorded 13 goals and 17 assists in three seasons.

Former manager Ronald Koeman and current gaffer Xavi have used De Jong in attacking and box-to-box roles, but players like Pedri and Gavi have stolen the spotlight this season with their performances and impact in games. The midfielder has also been substituted in 20 of 33 games since Xavi replaced Koeman on the sideline in November 2021, per The Athletic, as he hasn’t managed to make an expected impact in many matches this campaign.

De Jong’s talent is not in question, however, and a move to United to play under ten Hag could allow him to flourish once again in the heart of the starting eleven. His vision, agility, defending, ability to break lines with pinpoint passes, and capability to score from inside and outside the box would be a welcomed addition in a United midfield that has severely struggled this season.

Barça selling de Jong this summer would be a plus for both clubs. The potential transfer would give the Catalans the money needed to further bolster its young squad in the transfer window and renew the contract of 17-year-old midfielder Gavi. The club will also welcome the arrival of Franck Kessie on a free transfer from AC Milan this summer, which could see manager Xavi opt to play a young midfield trio of Kessie, Gavi, and Pedri next season.

The Catalans also recently renewed the contracts of Sergi Roberto and Ronald Araújo.

Officials at United understand the deal will be difficult to complete, per ESPN, as de Jong would prioritize a move to a club competing in the Champions League next season. United will likely compete in the UEFA Europa League next season, and Manchester City is one of the club’s monitoring the midfielder’s situation.

The current Premier League leaders confirmed an agreement for the signing of striker Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, and signing De Jong would further improve their chances of competing for a Champions League title next season.

Nevertheless, ten Hag will continue to push for de Jong’s signature this summer as part of the expected massive overhaul of United’s squad.