Manchester United may have to re-adjust their transfer focus after Frenkie De Jong made it clear he would not be joining them.
The Dutchman has been Erik ten Hag’s No 1 target throughout the summer but the Red Devils have been unable to strike a deal, which has largely stemmed from the player’s reluctance to leave Barcelona and head to the Premier League. Making additions in central midfield is among the priorities at Old Trafford.
Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic have both left which leaves Ten Hag light of options and he may have to look elsewhere for new faces in that area. United have a shortlist of contingency options with Youri Tielemans and Ruben Neves among them, according to TalkSport.
The former has impressed throughout his time at Leicester City, previously scoring against United, but his contract will be up next summer and the Foxes may be forced to cash in. Tielemans has proven himself an able performer in the Premier League and has European experience.
Neves meanwhile has long been linked with a Wolves exit and the Red Devils are among those credit with interest. The Portugal midfielder has been a star since moving to Molineux back when the club were in the Championship and did hint at a summer exit.
He said: “The only thing I can tell you at the moment is that everyone knows what football is about, what our lives are about. Our career is really short and we need to take the opportunities we have. All of us have dreams and we need to live those dreams in a small space of time. Let’s see what happens, I cannot say too much about it.”
Tielemans may prove to be a cheaper option than Neves due to Leicester’s need to sell, but it remains to be seen whether they pursue either target. De Jong’s previous relationship with Ten Hag was seen as a potential plus in their pursuit of the midfielder but the Barcelona president Joan Laporta has now come out and issued a hands off warning.
He said: “There are clubs that want him, not just United. We have no intention of selling him, he wants to stay. Frenkie is considered as one of the best midfielders in the world by all the experts. We are happy to have him. I’m going to do everything I can in my power so that Frenkie stays here, but there’s also a salary issue and that would have to be adjusted.”