Manchester United are weighing up a potential £75million move for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
Incoming United manager Erik ten Hag has identified De Jong, 25, as an ideal target, having coached him at Ajax and the Manchester Evening News understands United have contacted Barcelona about De Jong’s potential availability.
Barcelona and United sources have suggested reports of an imminent deal are wide of the mark but United are determined to move swiftly for a midfielder to offset the imminent departures of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic. Pogba is believed to favour rejoining Juventus, despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain.
De Jong is contracted to Barcelona until 2026, having joined the club from Ajax for £65m in 2019, but the emergence of Pedri and Gavi in midfield has plunged his future into doubt.
The Catalan club have also experienced financial problems and De Jong’s sale could be needed to help fund new signings.
Derek Langley, the former United head of recruitment at academy level, encouraged United to sign De Jong when he was a teenager but was vetoed. The Netherlands international is represented by Donny van de Beek’s agent, Ali Dursun, who brokered Van de Beek’s loan move to Everton in January.
The United squad is expected to undergo a major overhaul in the summer, with six senior players due to depart at the end of their contracts.
Pogba, Matic Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Lee Grant are all out of contract next month and interim manager Ralf Rangnick has suggested United need up to 10 new players.
Speaking after the loss to Liverpool, he said: “If you analyse the situation, it’s not that difficult to analyse. The team needs a rebuild, not because some players have to go but quite a few have no contracts anymore, their contracts are expiring, then for me it’s clear there will be six, seven, eight, maybe 10 new players.
“And before you sign those players you need to be aware how do you want to play? What kind of football does the new manager want to play? And then take it from there and then bring every single player fitting into that kind of profile.”