Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has poured cold water on a potential transfer this summer despite continued links with a move to Manchester United.
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Erik ten Hag made his former Ajax charge his top target in his first window at Old Trafford but after months of talks the younger Dutchman decided he wanted to remain at Camp Nou.
With Barca’s financial situation still rather fragile, and Ten Hag still keen to add a new playmaker to his midfield, De Jong has remained on United’s wish list.
But the 26-year-old remains happy and settled in Catalonia and has no desire to leave, while he insists he never came close to swapping Barca for United this time last year.
Asked by Voetbal International if leaving is not an option this season, De Jong said: ‘That has been clear to me, also last summer when things were restless for a while.
‘I always knew that I wanted to stay at Barcelona, that’s why it wasn’t so stressful for me last summer.
‘Also, I had just signed a contract extension [in 2020] so I always felt that I was in control and able to decide for myself.
‘That’s why I didn’t bother [worrying about it]. I feel good at Barcelona and assume that I will still be playing here next season.’
De Jong, who started 29 times in La Liga en route to the title, is likely to have an even bigger role at the club going forward following the departure of veteran midfielder Sergio Busquets.
‘It will be different next season when Busquets is gone,’ he continued. ‘He played for Barcelona for 15 years, you will notice that when such a great player leaves.
‘I really enjoyed playing with him, especially when we were next to each other. We complemented each other really well and I learned a lot from him even though we are different types of players.’
Reflecting on Lionel Messi’s decision to move to Inter Miami instead of return to Barca, De Jong told De Telegraaf: ‘I think every team would like to have Lionel there because he always makes the difference.
‘It is a shame he is not coming back to Barcelona. I would have loved to have him back here, his return would have been great. Now we will see who joins and who leaves.’
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