The 25-year-old midfielder is a target for the Red Devils because their new manager Erik ten Hag wants a reunion with the Dutchman. Both ten Hag and De Jong worked to great effect for two seasons at Ajax Amsterdam as they won an Eredivisie and KNVB Cup double and made it all the way to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in the 2018/19 season.
The midfielder sealed a switch to the club of his dreams but he is one transfer that ten Hag has regretted for a long time. The opportunity to reunite with one of his favourite players has now presented itself to the 52-year-old Dutch tactician with the financial might of Manchester United and the financial struggles of De Jong.
Man United have long chased after the player since the Catalan club’s financial troubles began but intensified their chase after ten Hag’s appointment. The midfielder is important to Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez but the club’s financial state could see them let go of a key player who is also one of their most sellable assets.
De Jong, however, is adamant that he wants to fulfil his contract and remain with Barcelona for longer, having dreamt of playing for the club since he was little. Currently on international duty with the Netherlands ahead of the UEFA Nations League which begins on June 1, De Jong spoke to the media about the transfer speculation surrounding him.
“I prefer to stay with Barcelona,” the midfielder whose contract at the club runs until 2026, said to ESPN. “Barcelona is just my dream club. Also from a young age. I just said it too. I’ve never regretted my choice despite the fact that I had hoped for more in terms of prizes than I’ve achieved so far.
“But I have never regretted my choice.”
There have also been talks about ten Hag calling the Dutch midfielder frequently since assuming his role as the new head coach of Man United to convince him to make the switch to Old Trafford. Reports also claim that Barcelona and United have come to an agreement on his transfer as well but are looking to secure a replacement before sanctioning it.
De Jong debunked those claims. “What I’m saying, there is absolutely nothing of an agreement or anything official. At the moment there is no question of it at all,” the Netherlands international added. “Not that I know of in any case. Or they must not have told me, but I don’t think so.”