Manchester United remain in contact with both Barcelona and Frenkie de Jong’s agent over the possibility of a late deal for the midfielder, it has been spectacularly claimed. That comes amidst contrasting reports that United’s business for the summer will be all but done once Martin Dubravka’s loan move is made official.
Newcastle goalkeeper Dubravka will join on loan as competition for David de Gea and will become United’s No 2 and Europa League goalkeeper. He will be the Red Devils’ sixth summer signing, the latest having been £85million winger Antony on Tuesday.
United have also signed Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro. De Jong was the top target for much of the summer and a £72m deal was agreed between the two clubs for the Netherlands international. That was with Barca keen to sell players to raise cash.
De Jong was spotted on Monday flying to London but the 25-year-old is not thought to be in England for transfer purposes. However, journalist Rudy Galetti claims a move to Old Trafford is not yet completely dead despite the player’s hesitance to leave Barca.
Galetti says United’s talks with Barcelona and De Jong’s agent Ali Dursun are ‘still ongoing and claims the ‘next hours will be decisive’ because the situation is ‘evolving’. The Red Devils have sought to reunite the ex-Ajax player with Erik ten Hag in Manchester all summer long.
But a lack of Champions League football has been one of several factors that has kept De Jong in Barcelona, although Chelsea’s interest in the midfielder has also amounted to nothing so far. Yet he could still be pushed out of the Nou Camp before 11pm on Thursday in what would be a blockbuster transfer twist.
United have spent over £200m on signings this summer having only made money from the sale of Andreas Pereira. They lost Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani on free transfers while Eric Bailly, Alex Telles and Dean Henderson have gone out on loan.
Given the funds spent to recruit Antony from Ten Hag’s former club Ajax it remains to be seen if they have the finances for a late deal for De Jong, who would command massive wages. United legend Rio Ferdinand is meanwhile delighted with the addition of Antony who becomes the club’s second most expensive addition of all time.
“He brings his trickery and he brings that unpredictable Brazilian element,” Ferdinand said on VIBE with FIVE. “He is a fantastic, technical football player, who plays on the right-hand side of the front-three, cutting in on his left foot – he’s left-footed predominantly. He’s a man who’s a box full of tricks.
“He’s someone who wants to beat people but he has got an eye for a pass as well. He can create, he can slide balls through for the attacking players and people who make good runs off of him. What he does like to do is tease players by bringing defenders towards him, which creates space in behind and that enables him to find the runner with the great vision that he has.
“He’s not only a great dribbler and a player that takes the ball to the defenders and stand them up one-v-one, he’s going to get fans of their seats at Old Trafford I’m sure of that, the tenacity he plays with.
“The areas he needs to improve in are just his stats, as in his end product with assists and goals. I think he got double figures at Ajax the last two years he’s been there. I think 10 and 12 [goals], assists very similar as well. I think he’s somebody that likes a system.
“But he has to make sure that he drills himself to drive those stats up and those numbers up, because all the best teams in the world that win things right now, their front-three, across the front three – whether you play left, right or the middle – score and assist goals. That’s the area he’ll need to improve.”