Barcelona president Joan Laporta has reiterated that Manchester United target Frenkie De Jong is not for sale.
Sky Sports News was told last week that the clubs have a “broad agreement” on the fee – believed to be €65m (£56m) plus performance-related add-ons.
However, Laporta remains clear in his public message regarding the future of the Dutch international.
Laporta said: “[Frenkie De Jong] is a Barca player. And unless we feel the need or the interest to sell him we won’t do it. Frenkie de Jong isn’t for sale. We know he has offers. And if at a given moment we are interested in selling him then we would think about it.
“But right now we won’t sell him. Even more, we are acquiring another Franck. Franck Kessie.”
De Jong made 46 appearances for Barcelona last term and has four years remaining on his current contract at the Nou Camp.
The Dutchman played under new United boss Erik ten Hag at Ajax and was part of the squad that completed the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup double during the 2018/19 campaign, as well as reaching the Champions League semi-finals.
Reports earlier this month suggested signing the 25-year-old was Ten Hag’s priority in this summer’s transfer window, though progress on the deal was slow.
His potential arrival at Old Trafford is timely, with Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba having departed already this summer, leaving the club short of options in the middle of the park.
If Man Utd are to play the “dominant, dictating” football Erik ten Hag wants, their midfield needs an upgrade. Frenkie de Jong could be a solution, writes Sky Sports’ Peter Smith.
The stylish midfielder does his best work from deep, stepping past challenges or threading a pass through the lines to move his team up the pitch.
He rarely gives the ball away. He had a 91 per cent passing rate in La Liga last season and, as well as that metric, also eclipsed McTominay and Fred in stats measuring dribble success, touch quality and how often they are dispossessed.
De Jong may not be the sole answer to United’s problems but he would bring an upgrade to their central midfield department and unlock a way of playing Ten Hag desires.
View from Spain: Barcelona can still absorb De Jong loss
Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero told Sky Sports:
“I do think he will eventually join United, but the main problem is the player. De Jong wants to stay at Barcelona but the club sees with fresh eyes the possibility of selling him.
“They acknowledge that doing so will bring in a lot of money, and looking at the squad he is someone who can perhaps attract one of the biggest fees in the current market.
“De Jong is an amazing player but if Barcelona sell him, it would be a good operation. His value means they are taking the positives from a bad situation. If they were to have sold Ansu Fati, nobody in the club nor the fans would understand it.
“Ansu Fati is the future and they don’t have a replacement. But the fans are understanding of selling De Jong as they’ve got Gavi, Pedri and Busquets. Were Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal or either Gerard Pique or Ronald Araujo to be sold, it would be very different as they don’t have the same depth in those areas.”
What should Manchester United do this summer?
Sky Sports’ Jack Wilkinson:
“Where do you start?
“Restoring Manchester United back to the lofty heights of yesteryear is a task too great to be completed in a single season, but the fanbase are well within their rights to demand progress towards that ultimate target.
“The opportunities for newly-appointed manager Erik ten Hag and CEO Richard Arnold to deliver just that are myriad.
“United can hardly be accused of failing to invest on the pitch having weighed out more than £1billion on transfers in the past decade, but United rank among Europe’s worst in terms of value for every pound spent.
“In their first season together, Ten Hag and Arnold must seize the opportunity to devise a new transfer strategy, execute it successfully, and take the first steps towards re-establishing the famed partnership which underpinned Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill’s spell together.
“On the pitch, the fanbase yearn for a group of players they can relate to, a group of players they can invest in emotionally, irrespective of results.
“Players brought to the club must understand the privilege of pulling on a Manchester United shirt and, crucially, have the ability to transfer that into performances on the pitch, while those already at the club must be set an ultimatum of demonstrating their understanding.
“Achieve that, and United should be able to prevent the crippling sense of apathy from further engulfing Old Trafford, and the club will have taken its first step back towards the top table of English and European football.”
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