Manchester United’s proposed transfer move for Frenkie de Jong is yet to have the breakthrough fans are looking for.
Fabrizio Romano reports the deal ‘is now stalling’, and it will soon be decision time for United. Talksport reported this week that United have set a deadline to try and get the move done by the end of this week.
If United do stick to this cut-off point, and fail to get a move done, then it will be time to seriously consider alternatives.
With just under a month before the Premier League season begins, it will be time to get moving. Here is a look at five potential Frenkie de Jong alternatives who Manchester United could target.
Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves is the most widely touted De Jong alternative. He is also proven in the Premier League, and at 25, the same age as the Dutchman.
Neves needs a new challenge after signing for Wolves in 2017, and he claimed by Talksport to be on United’s shortlist.
The former Porto captain is an all-round midfielder, strong at breaking up play, with a good range of passing, and Erik ten Hag could help him reach the next level.
A recent report from The Sun claimed Wolves were looking for a staggering £75 million fee, which has put off suitors, and this would complicate United’s efforts to sign him. Another drawn out transfer saga could await.
Another player Manchester United are reported to be tracking is Youri Tielemans, with The Times reporting he is admired by Ten Hag.
Tielemans’ contract is entering the final year, meaning Leicester could have to cash in for far less than the £40 million they paid for him in 2019.
Like Neves, Tielemans would appreciate a new challenge, and Ten Hag would be able to help take the Belgian’s career up a notch.
Tielemans has scored in successive seasons against United, and at 25, he still has a lot more to offer. He has scored 21 goals for Leicester from midfield across the past three seasons.
A move for Ibrahim Sangare could be the right one if Erik ten Hag decides to target a more orthodox defensive midfielder.
The 24-year-old Ivory Coast star starred for PSV Eindhoven last year, and has been linked with a move to United via The Mail.
Sangare has a £29.9 million release clause in his contract, which would be less than half the expense required to sign De Jong, leaving funds for another signing too.
Sangare ranked 1st in the Eredivisie last season for tackles won, 1st for duels won, 2nd for ball recoveries, and 3rd for interceptions.
Austria midfielder Konrad Laimer has been linked on and off with United over the past few months but is not currently a priority as the club focus on De Jong. This could end up changing.
The RB Leipzig ace has one year left on his deal, which could enable the Red Devils to do a deal for around £20 million. BuliNews reported United’s interest earlier this year.
Laimer’s aggressive style is ideal for Ten Hag’s pressing game, and he can also chip in offensively too, scoring four goals and providing four assists in the Bundesliga last season.
The 25-year-old had been linked with Bayern Munich by 90Min, but no deal looks close, which leaves United with a chance to still swoop in.
Another possible De Jong alternative is Sporting midfielder Matheus Nunes, who has been one of the breakout stars of Ruben Amorim’s side. He was linked with Manchester United by Portuguese newspaper Correio do Manha earlier this year.
Nunes has a £51 million release clause in his contract but could be available for far less. The midfielder is a strong passer and tackler, who has been called into the Portugal national team.
The 23-year-old was lauded by Pep Guardiola after City faced Sporting, who was quoted by One Football, stating: “Matheus Nunes is one of the best players in the world today.”
A deal for Nunes and one of Sangare and/or Laimer could be done for the same price as the total cost of the De Jong move, making it an attractive option, if United have the capability or desire to get two deals done before the season starts.