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Frenkie De Jong is growing on the radar of top European clubs, as the Dutch midfielder struggles to win over Xavi Hernandez at Barcelona. The 24-year-old was one of the last major purchases – before the club hit financial difficulties – by Barcelona after being signed from Ajax for around £65 million back in 2019. De Jong was a crucial member of the Ajax team that had reached the Champions League semi-finals not too long ago.
However, De Jong’s move to Barcelona came at an ill-fated time even though he was an aggressive player who was perfect for the Catalan outfit. De Jong has all the technical abilities to feature is the key player in Xavi’s plans, but it seems that Barcelona are increasingly gravitating towards selling the 24-year-old to fund the purchase of other names.
Manchester United have emerged as one of the potential clubs to show interest in De Jong. The Red Devils are increasingly likely to lose Paul Pogba in the summer on a free transfer. Pogba’s contract runs out in the summer and he is reportedly refusing to sign a new deal unless his wages match the £500,000 per week being paid out to Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid, Juventus, and PSG are some of the clubs who are interested in making an offer for Pogba, who is free to talk with foreign clubs from January.
Apart from Bruno Fernandes and Fred, United have not been able to enjoy much success out of their existing midfield signings. Nemanja Matic is on the wrong side of 30 while Donny van de Beek continues to struggle for first-team opportunities despite United having spent a substantial transfer fee to get him from Ajax.
De Jong has the potential to be the next Paul Scholes or Michael Carrick for United with his ability to dictate the game from the centre of the park. A capable technical midfielder, De Jong has an eye for a pass that can change games in an instant. In an ideal world, the 24-year-old could have been the replacement for Sergio Busquets, but the current Barcelona captain appears to be going strong more than ever before.
However, a major blow to United’s hopes of signing De Jong has come in the form of weather. After having spent time in sunny Spain for a while, De Jong is reportedly not keen on making the switch to rainy-Manchester according to his father. According to his injury to Algemeen Dagblad (AD), De Jong senior said: “It’s often bad weather there. Of course it’s about football, but it does matter. Of course I know that Barcelona needs money and a great offer for Frenkie could help, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Although, the five top European clubs have all called.”
Xavi is in his early days as a Barcelona manager. However, he has shown an early sign of dipping towards the La Masia youngsters rather than go with the expensive acquisitions. So far, Gavi and Pedri are starting to become a centrepiece for Barcelona with Sergio Busquets providing the necessary experience. In such a scenario, Barcelona would be willing to part company with De Jong and spend the substantial transfer fees that they are likely to receive on other areas of the pitch.
De Jong’s contract still has an incredible five years to run and the midfielder is valued at around £80 million. Manchester City are also thought to be interested in the 24-year-old, but United will be able to interest the player with the potential for regular first-team football. If any move should happen, it is likely to be only in the summer.