Erik ten Hag frustrated and ready to give up over Frenkie de Jong
De Jong has been United’s number one target this summer, with Fabrizio Romano last week describing the midfielder as the club’s Plan A, Plan B and Plan C in midfield.
This is no exaggeration, given that United have been pursuing De Jong since May, and it has taken until August for the club to finally get the message the midfielder does not wish to join.
Richard Arnold and John Murtough were spotted in Barcelona negotiating for the midfielder last month.
Ten Hag frustrated and ready to give up over De Jong
The Athletic previously claimed an agreement is in place with Barcelona – but not the player.
This latest report via The Mail says that the drawn out transfer ‘is causing the manager major frustration as he resigns himself to missing out on his No 1 target.’
De Jong was identified as being crucial to the type of football Ten Hag wanted to play at United. The financial situation at Barcelona has been highly complicated this summer, but ultimately, if De Jong wanted to play for the Red Devils, he would have been here a month ago.
Chelsea are now making moves and The Times reports they are hoping to strike an agreement with Barcelona. They are able to offer De Jong the chance to play Champions League football.
The Mail note United have not completely given up, but point out the change in strategy which has seen the club begin pursuing Adrien Rabiot.
United’s entire summer strategy has been staked on De Jong. Giving up now is practical, but this should have been the case one month ago, when the Dutchman boarded a flight to go on Barcelona’s pre-season tour.
Gary Neville told Sky Sports it would be ‘horrific’ for United if De Jong signs with Chelsea instead. Erik ten Hag will be infuriated if this takes place – but some of his anger should be directed towards the player. Rightly or wrongly, the club have tried to give him the player he wanted.
Now it just remains to be seen how ambitious and decisive United are prepared to be in the final few weeks of the window.