Man Utd denied Frenkie de Jong transfer alternative who they had been ‘keeping warm’

Marcus Rashford reflects Man Utd's pre-season tour in Australia

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Manchester United are set to be denied midfield back-up option, Renato Sanches, with the Portuguese star on the verge of signing for Paris Saint-Germain. New Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag could eventually have to cut his losses if a deal for Frenkie de Jong falls through, although his list of alternatives appears to be shrinking. 

United’s negotiations for De Jong have been at a standstill for some time, with Barcelona and the player currently butting heads over £17million of deferred wages. The Catalan club have publicly called for the Dutchman to stick around, but admitted that he would have to take a hefty pay cut. 

With the Red Devils’ first Premier League fixtures just days away, Ten Hag will have to venture into his debut campaign as United boss without the star midfielder he made a top target earlier this summer. It remains to be seen how close he will go to deadline day, which is under a month away, before turning his full attention to back-up options. 

According to Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth, United had been ‘keeping alternative targets warm’, including Sanches and Wolves’ Ruben Neves, in case things didn’t work out with De Jong.

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But transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claims that PSG have reached a full agreement for Sanches, with the 24-year-old signing from Lille in a deal worth £12.6m. That’s a fraction of what United have already agreed to pay for De Jong should his issues with Barca be resolved, with an initial £63m fee thought to be in place. 

Sanches has been a household name since breaking through at Benfica seven years ago. Neither a permanent switch to Bayern Munich nor a loan spell at Swansea City worked out, and it took a move to Lille for the midfielder to resurrect his career. 

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With De Jong hanging in the balance and Sanches off the table, United could soon have to change their course of action if Ten Hag is to get his wish of a revamp in the middle of the park. Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has long been linked to Old Trafford, but a move for Wolves’ Neves could be more realistic given what technical director Scott Sellars admitted earlier this year. 

“There’s probably some players that will be moving out and I’ll certainly be pushing and driving hard to get that money to spend,” he told Birmingham Live. “I certainly get the sense that would be the feeling of what I’m allowed to do, so anything that does happen I want to spend the money and certainly try to improve the squad and try to make us progress.

“Ruben’s a top player; Ruben’s been fantastic this season and I think showed again his quality, also I think showed how happy he is here, so I think that’s something we as a club know as well.

“The ideal situation is we want him to stay, and I’ve spoken to him about it. But I’m also realistic that when you’ve got an outstanding player then the top clubs are going to come and try to see what the situation is. Again, it will be discussed, and what’s right for the club, and will certainly be something we’ll look at.”

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