Frenkie de Jong will be a bargain if Manchester United sign him for £55m… the Dutch midfielder has had success with Erik ten Hag and his versatility can help the rebuild at Old Trafford
- Versatile Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong is set to join Manchester United
- He has previously worked with new United manager Erik ten Hag at Ajax
- The pair won the domestic double and reached a Champions League semi-final
- De Jong will be a loss for Barcelona, who would not sell him unless they had to
Frenkie de Jong was once sold for just €1 but if he can restore Manchester United to the elite of English football, it will be impossible to put a price on his true worth.
De Jong has been Erik ten Hag’s No1 target ever since he arrived at Old Trafford and Sportsmail sources have indicated a deal between United and Barcelona for the Netherlands star is ’90 per cent’ complete, with just the finer details left to conclude.
There is optimism that the transfer will be completed this week. United will pay an initial £55million to the Spanish club for De Jong, a fee that could rise close to £70m.
Versatile Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong is set to join Manchester United for £55m
If Declan Rice is valued at £150m, De Jong is a steal. The 25-year-old can control the pace of a game in the manner of Luka Modric or Marco Verratti, while also possessing a burst of pace over a short distance, brilliant vision and flawless touch and awareness.
When the Netherlands beat England in the Nations League in 2019, De Jong ran the show.
He was a key member of the Ajax team who reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2019 under Ten Hag, before they were defeated in heart-breaking fashion by Tottenham.
Ten Hag could be set for a reunion with De Jong, one of his key players when the two were at Ajax
Indeed, De Jong’s close relationship with Ten Hag has been one of the key factors in his decision and agreeing personal terms is unlikely to be a problem.
Were circumstances different, Barcelona would not even contemplate selling De Jong, a player at the peak of his powers. Yet the Catalan giants’ financial situation means they need to sell at least one big name this summer and De Jong is a prize asset, while Barcelona also have teenage Spain stars Pedri and Gavi in midfield.
Both are adored by supporters and were either sold, it would make president Joan Laporta hugely unpopular. Despite his quality, De Jong is different. He was bought from Ajax for £65m and had no previous affinity with Barcelona.
Erik ten Hag took Ajax to a Champions League final and won the domestic double with de Jong
Given the urgent need to make money, it would be regarded by most as a decent deal if Barcelona could make a small profit on him.
Not that it would be quite as good as the agreement Ajax struck with Willem II in 2015. The clubs were haggling over a fee of about £740,000 and could not find a number that both were happy with.
Instead, De Jong moved to Amsterdam for a symbolic sum of €1, with Willem guaranteed a percentage of any future sale. De Jong is a potential star of this winter’s World Cup.
After a dazzling display in Rotterdam in the Nations League this month, Wales boss Rob Page said De Jong was one of the best his team had faced. He added: ‘Let’s hope for fans’ sake he is playing in the Premier League next season.’