Frenkie de Jong was linked with a move to Manchester United for almost the entirety of the 2022 summer transfer window.
De Jong was United’s top transfer target, with Erik ten Hag keen on signing the player who was once the midfield fulcrum of his Ajax side.
United chief executive Richard Arnold and John Murtough were even pictured in Barcelona when they held talks with the club, doing everything possible to attempt to pull off a deal.
A complicated move did not happen, despite The Athletic reporting Manchester United had an agreement with Barcelona over a deal. Simply put, De Jong chose to stay.
READ: Confirmed Manchester United transfers in, out, loan deals for January 2023
De Jong’s fiancee has her say
De Jong got his way and stayed at Barcelona. There were personal reasons for this. The Telegraph reported in August that his fiancee Mikky Kiemeney “in particular, is understood to be desperate to continue living in Barcelona.”
Rumours about a potential De Jong deal have persisted. The Manchester Evening News report United have ‘refused to rule out’ a summer 2023 move for the midfielder, potentially bringing him in to partner Casemiro.
De Jong’s fiancee held an Instagram ‘ask me anything’ this week, and was asked when Frenkie de Jong will be coming to Manchester.
These were questions she would have heard all last summer. Except this time, she was able to provide a response – bluntly providing the date of Barcelona’s upcoming Europa League game at Old Trafford later this month.
De Jong’s involvement in the two matches will be a big topic of discussion. It will be fascinating to see him take on United, who surely have answered any doubts he may have had over the Red Devils project, looking like a changed team under Ten Hag.
He explained in an interview after the transfer window that he was keen to stay in La Liga, and admitted he had been at odds with his club.
He was quoted by Teamtalk: “I always wanted to stay at Barcelona and this is why I always remained calm in the summer.
“I can’t give too much details away. But look.. the club has it’s own idea’s and I have my own idea’s too. And sometimes this clashes with each other. But at the end of the day things went okay.”
Barcelona may be particularly pleased they kept hold of him. They are top of La Liga, and could really need De Jong against United, with Sergio Busquets sustaining an injury at the weekend which threatens to rule him out of both Europa League games.