Man Utd look set to be forced into three signings as Frenkie de Jong saga takes turn
De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links
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Manchester United’s pursuit of Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong has taken a turn for the worse. According to reports in Spain, Chelsea have confirmed they’ll be entering the race for the Netherlands international. And with the Blues having Champions League football to offer, there’s a genuine chance Erik ten Hag may miss out on his leading target.
Manchester United have spent nearly three whole months chasing De Jong, with Ten Hag, Richard Arnold and John Murtough all convinced the 25-year-old can be signed.
But with Chelsea now ready to enter the race, it seems like the Red Devils are in a spot of bother.
Chelsea can offer De Jong a chance to play in the Champions League, having finished third in the Premier League table last term.
The midfielder would also be able to live in London, while the Blues would likely build their team around the Netherlands international given his creative talents.
Chelsea, too, have won more trophies than United in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
So with the Blues interested, it means the Red Devils may now be forced to pursue alternative targets.
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Right now, they seem to have other players on their radar in the forms of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Ruben Neves and Youri Tielemans.
Let’s start with the former.
Milinkovic-Savic to United rumours are nothing new, with the Lazio star long being linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho actually wanted the Serbia international as a replacement for Paul Pogba in 2018, with the midfielder attracting interest from Barcelona at the time.
But Pogba and Milinkovic-Savic actually ended up staying put that summer, with deals for the pair both failing to take place.
Now, four years on, United’s interest has been mooted again.
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It’s been claimed the Red Devils would be prepared to pay £42million for the player, who scored 11 goals from 37 Serie A appearances last term.
But Lazio would want £20m extra for their prized asset, especially given his importance to Maurizio Sarri over at the Stadio Olimpico.
Then, there’s Neves.
United have long admired the Portugal international, who has been a consistent performer in the Premier League for a few years now.
They pondered signing him last summer, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was manager, only to be lured towards Cristiano Ronaldo late in the summer instead.
United also considered Neves back in January but, with Ralf Rangnick only installed as interim manager, a move failed to occur.
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Wolves have regularly insisted they’d want a fee in the region of £100m to consider letting their talisman go.
Yet United’s interest is there and it’s feasible they’ll try and negotiate a lower fee for the Porto star should they choose to go in that direction.
Tielemans, too, is a player who Ten Hag appears to admire.
The Belgium international is on borrowed time at Leicester, with his contract at the King Power Stadium due to expire in a year’s time.
There is a sense he’d prefer to leave the Foxes for Arsenal, however, despite the Gunners appearing to have other priorities.
But United, given Tielemans’ situation, could test the waters by making a move.
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What’s becoming abundantly clear, however, is that the De Jong transfer deal looks trickier and trickier by the day.
And it may soon be time to pull the plug, with the Red Devils up against the clock when it comes to getting the Netherlands international in the door.
Meanwhile, Kevin Campbell recently insisted United should move for Milinkovic-Savic instead of Neves or Tielemans.
“He’s a really top player,” he said.
“He has been linked with Arsenal and Newcastle as well. If Man United come into town and put the money down, I think Lazio’s ears will really prick up.
“Is it a risk? I don’t think so. I have watched him play. He is an exciting player.”
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