The midfielder is understood to be settled and happy in Catalonia despite reported transfer interest from Manchester United this summer. De Jong made 42 appearances for Barca last term and Xavi Hernandez has previously stated how he is still a “key player” at the club.
This has not stopped rumours from suggesting De Jong could be set for a move to the Red Devils, which would see him reunite with manager Erik ten Hag. The pair worked together at Ajax, winning the Eredivisie-Dutch Cup double and reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2019 before the player left to join Barca for £65million.
According to the Manchester Evening News, United were weighing up a £75million move for De Jong and Ten Hag had identified the player as a priority target. There has since been noise of a conversation between Ten Hag and De Jong, in which the new United boss tried to persuade the 25-year-old to pull up stumps for a switch to Old Trafford.
But De Jong wants to play Champions League football and is not keen about dropping into the second tier of European football with United next term. The move is looking highly unlikely at this stage, although Barca’s financial situation may still force them to sell the highly-rated midfielder.
Last week, United were reportedly seeking a final answer from De Jong over his future. According to SPORT, United ‘cannot wait any longer’ to find out where he will be playing his football next term as Ten Hag begins to shape together his team for 2022/23.
If his answer is no, United will have to explore other targets with the midfield an area in need of serious surgery in the summer. Paul Pogba is set to leave the club and join Juventus when his contract expires, while Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic will also depart at the end of their current deals in June.
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This leaves Scott McTominay, Fred and Donny van de Beek as United’s only other three senior central midfielders with Bruno Fernandes operating in a more advanced role. De Jong usually plays in the No.8 position but can also fill in deeper in a midfield pivot if needed.
However, it seems as though he and his partner are happy in Barcelona and he would be keen to stay and fight for his place at the club. De Jong discussed his future in February and his answer on the matter was clear. “I’m very happy to be at Barcelona. I’ve wanted to be here since I was little so it’s been a dream come true,” said De Jong.
“Of course I would have liked to have won more trophies than I have in my first two years. I expected more in that sense, let’s put it like that. But apart from that, I’m very happy here and I hope to be here for many more years.”