Manchester United are interested in signing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong following the appointment of Erik ten Hag as manager, 90min understands.
Ten Hag, who on Wednesday night won the Dutch Eredivisie with Ajax, played a key role in De Jong’s early career development and the pair notably helped Ajax to the semi-finals of the 2018/19 Champions League. De Jong joined Barcelona following that campaign but has struggled to find his best form in Catalonia since.
There is mutual interest from the pair in working together again. Ten Hag will assume the role as manager of United following the conclusion of this season, and central midfield will be a key area to address in the summer with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic expected to leave on free transfers.
Barcelona would like to keep De Jong, but the possibility of him leaving in the summer cannot be ruled out. Their difficult financial position and De Jong’s market value would allow them flexibility were they to cash in, while youth prospects Pedri and Gavi have ascended to prominence in recent months.
The club hope a new contract for Gavi could be announced as soon as this week.
De Jong, who has just turned 25, would like to prove his worth to Barcelona but he may have to come to terms with a move elsewhere due to the circumstances, his high earnings and a wealth of options in midfield. Franck Kessie is also set to join the club on a free transfer from Milan in June, meaning more competition for places in the middle.
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United themselves are looking to bring in at least one midfielder, with the position already considered weak before the departures of Pogba and Matic. Current interim manager Ralf Rangnick has also recommended the signing of RB Leipzig midfielder Konrad Laimer to the club, as reported earlier this week.
Should De Jong leave Barcelona, he is likely to have a number of options – with both Manchester City and Bayern Munich also linked with the player in the recent past.
United will not have Champions League football to offer the player next season though may benefit in their pursuit of the player due to his relationship with Ten Hag.