Manchester United have made their opening bid for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who would find his preferred shirt number available in the Old Trafford dressing room.
Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has received a welcome boost ahead of a potential transfer to Manchester United – as his preferred shirt number is back on the market.
United have acted on their long-standing interest in the highly-rated 25-year-old by submitting an opening offer to test the waters. Barca have rebuffed their bid of £60million but this will not deter Red Devils chiefs, who are ready to table an improved proposal in order to sign Erik ten Hag’s priority target.
De Jong initially hoped to stay put at the Nou Camp but is now open to departing, with Barca aiming to raise funds from player sales to fund recruitment of their own. As talks with United gather pace, attention will turn to the finer details of De Jong’s possible switch to Old Trafford, among which is the shirt number he could be given.
De Jong has worn the the No. 21 jersey for the entirety of his first-team career, spanning three seasons with Ajax and three with Barcelona. He also dons this shirt when representing the Netherlands and previously opened up on the number’s personal significance to him and his family.
“I feel comfortable with that number,” De Jong told Dutch outlet Voetbal International , per 90min, in 2019. “I could easily play with another number, you know, it’s not a problem, but it is nice that it also gives people a way of recognising me.
“I brought my whole family to my presentation in Barcelona, except my grandfather Hans de Jong, my father’s father. He died on the day of my 21st birthday. Unconsciously it is also a kind of tribute. He was a huge football fan.”
Proving just how much he values his shirt number, De Jong is even said to have turned down the coveted No. 14 shirt – previously worn by the legendary Johan Cruyff – upon his arrival at Barca. Therefore, he will be relieved to discover the 21 locker is free in the Old Trafford dressing room, should he complete his transfer to United.
That is because Edinson Cavani is one of the 11 players to have left the club at the expiry of his contract. The Uruguay international took 21 – the number he wears for his country – last summer so Cristiano Ronaldo could reappraise the fabled No. 7 strip which he had previously occupied.
This paves the way for De Jong to take his dream shirt number unopposed at the Red Devils. There is also good news for Bruno Fernandes, whose preferred choice – the No. 8 jersey – has become available thanks to Juan Mata’s departure.
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