Man Utd close in on £70m deal but key target has major concern over transfer

Manchester United are close to agreeing a £70m deal with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong but still face a fight to convince the midfielder to leave the Nou Camp.

Erik ten Hag worked with De Jong when the pair were at Ajax and is keen to reunite with the 25-year-old at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag, who has signed a three-year deal at United, wants to bolster his squad with a new striker, midfielder and centre back this summer, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard leaving the club following the 2021-22 campaign.

Manchester United have been discussing terms with Barcelona for several weeks and Spanish outlet Sport say a deal is now close to being reached.

It is claimed United are close to agreeing a £70m transfer fee for De Jong, with Barcelona taking the opportunity to cash in on the Netherlands star as they look to improve their dire financial situation.

But it remains to be seen whether De Jong actually signs for Manchester United as he reportedly still needs some convincing.

While De Jong is attracted to the Premier League and enjoyed playing under Ten Hag, the lack of Champions League football at Old Trafford is acting as a deterrent.

Under interim boss Ralf Rangnick and former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United finished just sixth last season, meaning they will feature in the Europa League next term.

To compensate, United are ready to make De Jong one of their highest-paid players, although the Dutchman could still decide he wants to remain at Barcelona.

Manchester United want a final decision from De Jong by the middle of June and could step up their interest in Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic if their top target turns them down.

De Jong has made 140 appearances for Barcelona since joining the La Liga giants from Ajax in 2019. He was one of Barca’s most important players last season, making 47 appearances last season.

Last month, former Liverpool and England star Steve McManaman urged De Jong to snub a move to Manchester United this summer.

‘Playing for Barcelona on the rise or Manchester United on the rise is a completely different thing when one’s playing in the Champions League and the other one isn’t,’ he said.

‘For him to go to Manchester United then I think they’d have to pay him more than he’s earning at Barcelona, which I think will be a really hard thing to do considering that he went to Barcelona for a huge amount of money.

‘You’d rather stay at Barcelona in the Champions League with Xavi trying to change things around. Players like [Andreas] Christensen and [Robert] Lewandowski potentially coming in makes that a more exciting challenge in my opinion.’