Manchester United have identified Frenkie De Jong as another replacement for Paul Pogba if the Frenchman leaves Old Trafford this summer or anytime in the near future, reports The Independent, via Metro UK.
The report claims that new Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez hasn’t been impressed by Frenkie De Jong and sees La Masia stars Pablo ‘Gavi’ Gavira and Nicolás ‘Nico’ Gonzalez as more fitting for his new Barcelona project.
Manchester United look set to lose the World Cup winner on a free this summer if they cannot agree on a new deal with him. It is also reported that the contract talks are progressing slowly because Paul Pogba is looking for an increase in wages, one which will see him overtake Cristiano Ronaldo as the highest-paid Premier League player.
De Jong joins Valverde and Rice on Manchester United’s radar
United boss Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer has been hoping to land West Ham midfield maestro Declan Rice for the better part of two seasons now, leading to the Hammers slapping a £100 million price tag on the young Englishman.
Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde has also emerged as a target in recent times for the club in case they’re not able to secure a new deal with Paul Pogba. Per the latest reports, Barcelona could be open to offloading Frenkie De Jong as the club, still in serious financial crisis, looks to lower its wage bill.
De Jong has only shone in flashes since joining the Catalan side for £65m from Ajax Amsterdam back in 2019 and still has five years left on his contract. The Dutchman is also linked to Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola being a long time admirer of the 24-year-old’s talents on and off the ball.
Frenkie De Jong still holds the confidence of fans and Xavi
Frenkie De Jong is a player that many would consider untouchable at Barcelona if not for the financial troubles the club is currently going through. New manager, Xavi, has also praised De Jong in the past, saying that the 24-year-old Dutchman is a player who can “mark a new era at Barcelona”.
Barcelona fans share the same sentiment as they have been quick to raise concerns all over social media as to why one of the club’s most consistent performers in recent years should be subject to transfer rumours.
However, with other reports from Spain and Barcelona which shows that Xavi is willing to give everyone on the team a clean slate, fans are hopeful that the flashes of brilliance seen from De Jong will become more commonplace as the Dutchman’s talents cannot be called to question.
Speaking ahead of his first match as Barcelona coach, the game with Espanyol in LaLiga, Xavi said about Frenkie De Jong: “Frenkie has to be really important for us, absolutely, he has to make the difference. He has to score goals, he has to be important in attack and defence.
“He can help us at many points and he has to make a difference.”