De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links
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Manchester United chief Matt Judge has been ‘involved’ in the club’s pursuit of Frenkie de Jong behind the scenes, according to reports. The Barcelona midfielder is Erik ten Hag’s top target at Old Trafford. However, a move to the Premier League continues to hang in the balance with the 25-year-old reluctant to leave.
Manchester United have agreed a fee with Barcelona for De Jong as they look to bring the 25-year-old to the Premier League.
The Red Devils are happy to pay an initial £63million for the Netherlands international, making him one of their most-expensive signings ever behind the likes of Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire, Romelu Lukaku and Jadon Sancho.
But with De Jong currently reluctant to leave Barcelona, having long dreamed of playing for the La Liga giants, a deal remains in limbo.
Now, according to The Athletic, United supremo Judge has been ‘involved’ in De Jong negotiations.
He’s poised to leave the Red Devils imminently, with the Red Devils continuing to restructure behind the scenes.
But Judge has continued to work at United despite his exit being on the cards as they look to finally secure the signing Ten Hag wants the most.
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The publication also sheds some light on Tom Keane, too.
Brother to former United players Michael and Will Keane, eyebrows were raised when it was revealed in June he’d be working with the club.
And it’s claimed Keane, who was recruited from law firm Brandsmiths, is ‘providing additional support to Judge and the club’s legal department’.
Ten Hag, for his part, has asked to be kept informed of any updates when it comes to De Jong.
But the situation still isn’t easy and it’s uncertain if the Barcelona star will end up making the move to United this summer.
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De Jong always wanted to play for the Catalan side as a child, which was part of the reason he turned down the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City three years ago.
But Barcelona require De Jong to leave, or take a huge pay cut, in order to balance their finances.
The player, according to reports in Spain, is open to halving his current salary – which is close to £360,000-a-week.
Yet what ultimately happens is something only time will tell, with United flatly refusing to throw in the towel.
They have been here before, of course, which is why supporters on social media are starting to grow worried.
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Back in 2013, when David Moyes took over from Sir Alex Ferguson, the Scot identified Cesc Fabregas as a leading target.
The Spain international was struggling for regular action at Barcelona and the Red Devils gave everything to try and snap him up.
But when that didn’t happen, with Fabregas proceeding to stay at the Nou Camp, that left United in a state of panic.
They went on to land Marouane Fellaini from Everton, with the Belgium international moving on transfer deadline day.
Yet Moyes was never able to recover from failing to land Fabregas and it set the tone for the shambolic season that was to follow.
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Barcelona boss Xavi, meanwhile, has insisted he’s not ‘playing games’ after using De Jong at centre-back during pre-season so far.
“Frenkie? I don’t send messages,” he said. “I spoke with him. I like him a lot.
“For me, he is a fundamental footballer but there is also the economic situation and fair play.
“He can bring us a lot as a centre-back. I like him in that position.”
If De Jong does join United he’ll become their 10th signing from La Liga, with Raphael Varane previously moving from Spain 12 months ago when he quit Real Madrid.
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