Man Utd respond to criticism over Frenkie de Jong transfer as talks continue to drag on

De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links

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Manchester United club sources have responded to rising frustrations over the Frenkie de Jong transfer saga. The Barcelona playmaker has reportedly been identified as Erik ten Hag’s priority target, but the clubs are yet to reach an agreement over the fee.

Ten Hag has reportedly been handed a transfer budget in excess of £100 million to lead the rebuild at Old Trafford. The Red Devils missed out on Champions League football following a dismal end to the campaign under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

United’s midfield has been the subject of heavy criticism over recent seasons, with the partnership of Fred and Scott McTominay regularly coming under scrutiny. Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba have both left the club as free agents.

De Jong rose to prominence working under Ten Hag during Ajax’s memorable run to the Champions League semi-final stage in 2019. However, the Netherlands international has struggled to consistently impress since making the move to Barcelona.

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The Catalan giants are determined not to accept a loss on their £65m investment however, and the 25-year-old is under contract until 2026. United are said to be preparing a counter-offer with incentives closer to this figure in an effort to convince Barcelona to sell.

The Manchester Evening News reports clubs sources ‘will not be panicked’ by the accusations of United’s inactivity at this stage. The Red Devils and Chelsea are the only two ‘Big Six’ clubs not to strengthen so far, although the Blues have just undergone a takeover.

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The report goes on to state sources feel it is ‘unfair’ that critics are now blasting United for their stance on negotiations, having previously been slammed for overpaying on transfers. The club feel a quick negotiation for De Jong would have ‘reduced their capacity’ to strengthen other areas of the squad.

This does not mean United are relaxed about their approach to the window. Ten Hag’s side begin their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia in a little over two weeks’ time, and there is said to be a determination to complete deals ahead of this.

United’s CEO Richard Arnold was covertly recorded during an impromptu meeting with fans at a Cheshire pub on Saturday, where he admitted the club had ‘burned through cash’ with their actions in previous transfer windows. Arnold went on to defend football director John Murtough and his colleagues, insisting they are all working ’round the clock’ on negotiations.

The latest reports suggest United could be closing in on their first signing, with club officials said to have travelled to Amsterdam to complete a £40m deal for Ajax winger Antony. The Red Devils are also expected to be busy in terms of outgoings, with the likes of Eric Bailly, Dean Henderson, Phil Jones, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams all likely to leave.

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