On Tuesday evening in Miami, Florida, Barcelona beat David Beckham’s MLS franchise Inter Miami 6-0 in the Catalan clubs opening pre-season fixture in the USA. Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong was not named in the starting XI playing him out of position when he came on.
United manager Erik ten Hag, who has seen his team start well in pre-season, beating Liverpool 4-0, Melbourne Victory 4-1 and Crystal Palace 3-1 wants to sign the 25-year-old Netherlands midfielder as he sees him as ‘one of the most complete midfielders in Europe‘.
Ten Hag feels that De Jong can ‘impose his philosophy on the field‘, knowing that the box-to-box midfielder had great positioning and movement, which will benefit the United attack this coming season. Both United and Ten Hag want the Dutch midfielder this summer, which is well known.
Ten Hag is going to be patient, which has been said many times before, even whet it was revealed that De Jong was on the flight to Miami on Saturday. The Dutchman is central to Ten Hag’s plans and there is apparently no plan B should United not sign him.
Barcelona seem to be keen to sell De Jong as that is pivotal to registering some of their new signings this summer. A fee has been agreed between the two clubs, which could be worth £72 million including add-ons, £56.2 million initially.
De Jong deferred some of his wages in 2020 and is currently owed £17 million by the Catalan club, something which he has worked for so should be getting if he leaves the club, especially if the club need to sell him with his reportedly no keen to leave.
The entire situation is an embarrassment, for Barcelona more than United as their financial position is one that has made the club look weak, especially with them signing players like there is nothing wrong. Andy Mitten’s report for GQ quoted a high level football agent, saying:
“It’s outrageous what Barcelona are doing. It’s morally wrong. He’s already taken a pay cut and deferred wages. They are trying to guilt trip a player into going. It is not Frenkie de Jong’s issue that Barcelona were so badly run.”
There are some bad feeling about this move with United spending lots of time, more than two months so far, trying to get the player to join United. There have been reports that are favourable for United, suggesting the player will join, but others that are not so favourable.
In the summer of 2013, David Moyes spent the summer chasing Cesc Fabragas, seemingly thinking that he would sign the player, who was out of favour at the time but in the opening La Liga match of the season, he started and assisted his teammates, therefore remaining at the club.
That summer, United had to sign Marouane Fellaini on deadline day, spending £4 million more than they would have had they signed him some weeks before. With there being no plan B for De Jong, if United do not sign him, there is nothing else and that would be a shame.
Obviously the coming weeks will tell more about what is going to happen here and with Barcelona on pre-season in the USA and still yet to play Real Madrid, Juventus and New York Red Bulls, it could be after the Premier League season starts before anything happens.
Written by John Walker