Erik ten Hag reviews Brighton defeat
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Manchester United and Chelsea will likely learn Frenkie de Jong’s Barcelona fate this week ahead of La Liga’s cost control deadline, according to reports. The Spanish giants are desperately trying to offload the midfielder in a bid to register £150million-worth of new summer signings.
United and Chelsea are both interested in acquiring the Dutchman, with the Red Devils having pursued a transfer for three months. New head coach Erik ten Hag identified De Jong as a player who could transform his midfield.
However, the Old Trafford hierarchy have struggled to put together a deal for the former Ajax man. It is unclear whether De Jong wants to join United with them playing in the Europa League this season. He is also insistent that Barca pay £14-17m in deferred wages.
Chelsea entered the race around three weeks ago and De Jong is believed to be favourable towards a move to Stamford Bridge. Their participation in the Champions League gives them an edge over Premier League rivals United.
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Both clubs will learn whether they can sign De Jong as early as this week, the Telegraph reports. The deadline for Barca to meet La Liga’s cost control measures comes around soon and they are desperate to offload players.
As it stands, Barca’s financial position means they cannot register Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha or Jules Kounde to La Liga. They must reduce their wage bill to get them officially signed up to the league.
Wide-ranging reports claim that Los Blaugrana are pleading with De Jong to agree to a new deal on reduced terms that would amount to a whopping 50 per cent pay cut. He is reported to earn around £165,000 in Spain.
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Other stars are being asked to reduce their salaries so that Barca can fall in line with tough restrictions imposed by La Liga. Gerard Pique is believed to have agreed to a new deal, while striker Martin Braithwaite was booed on Sunday following reports from favourable Spanish media that he had turned down a departure that would have helped the club ease their financial issues.
Meanwhile, United’s reported pursuits of Adrien Rabiot and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic suggest they might now be looking at alternatives to De Jong. The Red Devils are desperate to strengthen Ten Hag’s squad following Sunday’s 2-1 defeat by Brighton, and appear set to ditch their pursuit of their No 1 transfer target.
That would give Chelsea a free run at the 25-year-old. Thomas Tuchel wants to strengthen his squad to ensure they keep the pace with Manchester City and Liverpool, and is targeting a younger midfielder given his ageing options.
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