Manchester United may enjoy some progress in their pursuit of midfielder Frenkie de Jong over the next week or so after Barcelona’s revelation that they have a fast-approaching deadline by which they must register their new signings. Barca have major cash flow problems and need to balance their finances.
Despite that they have spent over £130million on Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde this summer and brought in Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie on free transfers. Barca are eager to offload Neto, Riqui Puig, Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite.
The four did not go on the pre-season tour of the United States while De Jong, Miralem Pjanic, Sergino Dest and Memphis Depay are others who may leave. De Jong would prefer to stay at the Nou Camp but has been reluctant to accept a pay cut and United remain eager to sign him.
Barca have agreed an initial £63m deal to sell the Dutchman, whom they owe at least £14m in deferred wages, to United. And Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth reports that United may see some progress in their hope of signing De Jong over the next seven to 10 days.
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That’s with Barca president Joan Laporta confirming the La Liga giants “have” to register their new signings by Saturday August 13. Sheth reported: “De Jong remains the No 1 choice for United and I’m sure, privately, they have set themselves a deadline. The transfer window is open until September 1 and Erik ten Hag has said he needs De Jong because he is intrinsic to how the team is going to play under him.
“So they are going to try everything they can to try and sign him. Privately, this deadline has not arrived yet because United must be getting some kind of encouragement from the De Jong side or from Barcelona to suggest this deal can still be done.
“That’s not to say they are not looking at alternatives like Ruben Neves and, to a lesser degree, Renato Sanches. They are keeping those alternatives warm for if the De Jong situation doesn’t materialise in the way they want it to. I just wonder if, come August 13, whether we’ll have a better idea.
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“Laporta has mentioned that date as the registration date for Barcelona’s new signings. Do those players need De Jong to be sold to accommodate them? If that’s the case, it’s little wonder United are sitting back because they don’t want to get involved in everything that is going on at Barcelona and they already have a broad agreement.”
Barca have confirmed they have raised £84m by selling off a 25 per cent stake of Barca Studios to Socios.com. They previously raised a total of £497m by selling 25 per cent of their La Liga TV rights to Sixth Street Partners.
Even so, Barca may still need to sell De Jong. With Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva another target and the club also making it clear they want Lionel Messi back at some point, Laporta added: “First we have to register the signed players. Then we’ll see what we can do if the coach asks for more reinforcements.”