Manchester United bid to sign another Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba looks even rockier

De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links

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Manchester United, whenever they fail to qualify for the Champions League, usually sign a big name to please fans. Angel Di Maria, Paul Pogba and Harry Maguire have all touched down mere months after an underwhelming campaign. Erik ten Hag is hopeful Frenkie de Jong will follow but, after reports on Sunday, that looks rockier than ever.

Manchester United, in 2014, failed to qualify for the Champions League.

The Red Devils finished seventh that year under David Moyes, who was relieved of his duties towards the end of the campaign with Ryan Giggs then installed as his interim replacement.

But that didn’t stop United from going down the Galactico route, with both Di Maria and Radamel Falcao blockbuster arrivals at Old Trafford.

Two years later, United again missed out on a top four finish.

They finished fifth under Louis van Gaal but, despite winning the FA Cup, the axe was brought crashing down on the Dutchman’s head.

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Jose Mourinho then swaggered into town and United marked the appointment of the Portuguese by spending big on Pogba.

The France international became football’s most-expensive player of all time in 2016, with the Red Devils paying an eye-watering £89million to bring the player back to the club.

And then, in 2019, United again decided to spend big following their failure to achieve Champions League qualification.

Maguire touched down that year, with the England international arriving from Leicester for a massive £80m.

Now, United are hopeful De Jong can be their next big-name signing to appease disgruntled supporters.

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The Red Devils have spent nearly three months actively pursuing the Netherlands international, who is Ten Hag’s main objective for this summer’s window.

The 52-year-old feels nobody in the whole of world football compares to De Jong, who he previously managed at Ajax.

But the deal has been fraught with complexities right from the very off.

Firstly, De Jong doesn’t want to leave Barcelona. That’s something he’s stated, both privately and publicly, having long dreamed of playing for the La Liga giants since he was a small child.

There’s also the issue of wages owed to the midfielder, too, after he agreed to take a temporary pay cut at the start of the coronavirus pandemic two years ago.

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And, now, there’s another problem.

Reports in Catalonia have claimed Chelsea have confirmed to Barcelona that they’ll be entering the running for De Jong.

And the brutal fact of the matter is that the Blues are a far more attractive proposition than United right now.

Chelsea can offer De Jong Champions League football, which obviously United can’t following their sixth-placed finish under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last term.

And it’s believed De Jong would be open to moving to Stamford Bridge for that reason alone.

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For United, it’s getting closer to decision time.

The Red Devils have put so much into a deal but, by the day, things are changing.

United would perhaps be wise to walk away because, if it comes down to a direct scrap with Chelsea, then they’d become underdogs.

However, Ten Hag is adamant De Jong is vital to his system.

And, for now, United are sticking to their guns and still quietly confident they’ll land their man.

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