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Erik ten Hag wants to sign £73m star from European giants, front page news today

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is ‘crazy’ about signing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong and will ‘ask for him’ during this summer’s transfer window, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Ten Hag was keen on a reunion with his former Ajax star back in the summer of 2022. United agreed a fee of €85 million (£73m) after several rounds of negotiations, but the midfielder refused to discuss terms.

De Jong was adamant that he did not want to leave the Blaugrana and maintained his stance.

The Dutchman has not altered his position, but Mundo Deportivo report (front page) that Barcelona will ‘seriously’ consider a ‘good offer’ with his contract expiring in June 2026.

Xavi Hernandez’s side are looking to sign either Martin Zubimendi or Joshua Kimmich. This could pave the way for the departure of De Jong, who is one of the highest earners at the club.

Ten Hag recently said that De Jong would have complemented Casemiro very well in his midfield. It is reported that he is still crazy about him and will ask United to make a fresh proposal.

United unlikely to return for De Jong

Ten Hag felt that De Jong would have been a perfect midfield acquisition for United in 2022. The midfielder’s ball control and range of passing would have made him an ideal signing.

However, the 26-year-old had other plans in mind and decided to stay at Barcelona, who are his dream club. In our view, United’s hierarchy are unlikely to return for the Netherlands star.

First of all, the fee could be a stumbling block with United in a tight financial position. They can’t afford to overspend with the risk of breaching the Profitability and Sustainability rules.

Secondly, the midfielder’s wage demands would break their wage structure. De Jong’s currently earns €470,000-a-week at Barcelona which equates to around £405,000 weekly.

Casemiro and Raphael Varane are presently the highest earners at the club with £350,000 and £340,000 weekly. United are said to be keen on offloading both players this summer.

With evident plans to reduce the wage bill by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS team, they are unlikely to sanction a move for De Jong, who may want £450,000 to agree personal terms.

Lastly, there is no indication that De Jong would consider a move. United would not want another long transfer saga only for the midfielder to turn down a transfer to Old Trafford.

Mundo Deportivo claim that the midfielder could wait for another year before considering a new challenge. He could also walk away on a free transfer with a loyalty bonus in 2026.

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