Erik ten Hag has been left seething after Barcelona pulled the plug on Manchester United's deal to sign Frenkie de Jong.
United bosses have spent the last six weeks in talks with Barca about landing de Jong in a deal worth £70m. The fallen giants had agreed to pay £56m up front for the Holland international, with a further £14m in add-ons and had discussed personal terms with the player.
But Barca president Joan Laporta has made it clear de Jong, 25, is no longer for sale and will be remaining at the Nou Camp instead. Laporta insists de Jong is still a big part of manager Xavi's plans next season and that the Spanish giants don't want to lose him.
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He said: "'Frenkie is not for sale. He is a Barcelona player. We don't want to transfer him." The news will be crushing blow to Ten Hag, who had been confident of making de Jong one of his first signings since taking charge at Old Trafford. Ten Hag, who managed de Jong at Ajax, had even been hoping to sign the midfielder in time for him to join the United squad on their pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia.
But instead, Ten Hag finds himself back to square one in his search for midfield reinforcements, having already missed out on Kalvin Phillips after the England ace snubbed United in favour of joining neighbours Manchester City.
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Meanwhile, Tyrell Malacia has hailed Ten Hag as a "tremendous manager" after in the wake of his move to United. The Red Devils confirmed the signing of the Dutch full-back on Tuesday, with Malacia signing a four-year deal with United after arriving from Eredivisie side Feyenoord. In moving to Old Trafford, Malacia has become the first signing of the Ten Hag, with the former Ajax boss preparing for his first season in England after replacing interim manager Ralf Rangnick this summer.
Malacia told the club's website: “It’s an incredible feeling to have joined Manchester United. This is a new chapter for me, a new league with new team-mates and a tremendous manager [Erik ten Hag] leading us. I know from playing against his teams in the Eredivisie, the qualities that he has and what he demands of his players.
“Whilst I know that I am still young and will continue to develop, I can promise the United fans that I will leave everything on the pitch every time I pull on the red shirt. I’ll always be thankful to Feyenoord for all they have given to me and my family. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for them. Now I’m ready to focus on the future with United, and help my new club achieve success.”
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