Manchester United have made a breakthrough in their attempt to sign Frenkie de Jong, with an initial fee now agreed with Barcelona, sources have told ESPN.
United are expected to pay €65m upfront for the midfielder, who is coach Erik ten Hag’s main summer target.
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Performance-related add-ons that could take the cost to over €80m have yet to be agreed, as well as the player’s personal terms, and sources close to the negotiations have told ESPN the deal is still ongoing and that there are still “significant” hurdles to overcome.
However, there is growing confidence at both Old Trafford and Camp Nou that an agreement can be struck to make De Jong the first signee of Ten Hag’s reign at United.
The Netherlands international is Ten Hag’s main transfer target. There is hope that he could be on the plane when the team embarks on their tour of Thailand and Australia on July 8th.
Sources at Barca also admit that they are closer to an agreement but say the final figures are yet to be determined, both in terms of the fixed fee and the surcharges.
However, it is accepted that the total package won’t reach the €100m they originally requested when talks between the two clubs started.
The same sources add that they “do not believe” a potential transfer will be finalized by June 30 (Thursday) when the club closes its accounts for the 2021-22 season.
Barca still need to raise money this week to avoid ending the year in losses but hope to do so by selling 10% of their La Liga TV rights.
De Jong has said publicly and privately that he would prefer to remain at Barca – as ex-coach Ronald Koeman reiterated on Monday – but could be forced to reconsider his position if the Catalan club push to move him.
Barca paid €75 for De Jong when they signed him from Ajax in 2019, with another €11m in potential surcharges.
United are keen to strengthen their midfield after the season-ending departures of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic. Matic joins Roma on a free transfer while Pogba joins Juventus.
Ten Hag worked with De Jong at Ajax and was keen to bring the 25-year-old to United. Barcelona are also keen to let the player go to overcome his financial woes and fund other transfer deals this summer.
Following the move to De Jong, United will focus on signing a versatile striker who can play in a range of front-line positions.
Brazilian winger Antony is on the list of potential targets but United have so far been put off by Ajax’s €80m valuation. United believe a fee closer to €40m is more in line with the 22-year-old’s market value, but Ajax have made it clear they are not under pressure to sack the striker, despite the player’s encouragement to reject all offers to be seriously considered.
Sources have also told ESPN that United are waiting to hear from Christian Eriksen on where he will play next season. United were encouraged by Tottenham to pull out of a deal but Eriksen also has an offer from Brentford, where he spent the second half of last season.
ESPN’s Moises Llorens also contributed to this report.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer-transfers/story/4691580/man-united-barcelona-agree-de-jong-deal-for-initial-65m-transfer-fee-sources Man United, Barcelona agree De Jong deal for initial €65m transfer fee