The year is 2022, and it is mid-July. Boris Johnson resigned as Prime Minister recently. England’s valiant Lionesses are on the verge of winning the European Championship. And Manchester United are still in talks with Barcelona over the possible signing of Frenkie De Jong.
The transfer controversy involving De Jong dominated the summer window leading up to the 2022-23 season. United tried hard, meeting with Barcelona representatives several times, and was apparently assured that a £70 million deal would be enough to entice the Dutchman away from the cash-strapped Spanish giants.
With other goals required and a limited transfer budget, De Jong stayed at Barcelona. He went on to flourish for Los Blaugrana, who surged to La Liga victory.
A year later, it’s still unclear why United haven’t renewed their interest in one of Europe’s top midfielders. Erik ten Hag is known to desire to strengthen that position, although Barcelona is still keen to lower their salary bill in order to meet La Liga spending limits.
Instead, it appears that the Premier League club has prioritized a move for Mason Mount. Only a year remains on the Chelsea star’s contract, and United is said to have beaten Liverpool and Arsenal to the deal.
The transfer fee remains a major issue. Despite his contractual status, Chelsea is thought to seek roughly £70 million for the 24-year-old. United is eager to reduce that price.
If they fail to do so, De Jong remains the best available option. He’d be a better fit at Old Trafford as a deeper midfielder than Mount, able to play in Ten Hag’s double pivot alongside Casemiro with Bruno Fernandes upfront.
Transfermarkt, a football data company, values De Jong at £64 million. Even if United had to pay somewhat more, they may be receiving a better bargain than if they signed Mount for a comparable sum.
Ten Hag would love to finalize the transfer, with the United manager stating that De Jong would benefit any team in the globe. “Frenkie is an incredible player, and he will strengthen the squad of any club in the world because he has a unique quality,” he stated before United met Barcelona in the Europa League.
“If you can bring him in, your team will be stronger.” He improved considerably more in Spain. He’s a wonderful player who plays out from the back, has plenty of time, and it was a pleasure to work with him.”
As a result, De Jong would be a welcome acquisition at Old Trafford. It is unclear why United is so hesitant to reach an arrangement with last year’s top target this summer.