Chelsea have been given a monumental boost in their transfer pursuit of Frenkie de Jong as Man United have identified a transfer alternative to the Barcelona star and started talks for a former Thomas Tuchel favourite.
On the same day that the Red Devils fell to a home defeat on the opening weekend of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign at the hands of Brighton, De Jong was busy putting in a masterclass of a performance in Barcelona’s pre- season against Mexican outfit Club Universidad Nacional (UNAM).
The need for midfield reinforcements at Old Trafford has only been amplified for manager Erik ten Hag following a poor showing from Scott McTominay and Fred against Graham Potter’s side.
Amid the stalemate situation for the Barcelona midfielder, United have turned their attentions elsewhere with the knowledge that Chelsea could be the 25-year-old’s preference if he was persuaded to leave the Camp Nou this summer.
According to The Athletic, as well as working on a short-term deal to sign striker Marko Arnautovic, United are working on a deal to sign Adrien Rabiot from Juventus. The report goes on to claim that the higher-ups at the club are unsure whether to make a move for Rabiot regardless of the De Jong deal, or wait and see how that pans out.
Nevertheless, a deal for the former Tuchel favourite will likely be a one-year contract initially. This is a massive boost for Chelsea even if United haven’t fully ruled themselves out of the De Jong battle. Todd Boehly has a great chance to strike a deal with the Blaugrana before September 1.
There are even suggestions that the player in question himself is now ‘close’ to accepting his Barcelona fate amid the ongoing financial and contractual dispute that the Holland international is contesting in relation to the £17million deferred wages that he is owed.
Whether Chelsea are able to land the £70million midfielder remains to be seen but they still face an uphill task as Barca president Joan Laporta is starting to slightly soften on his initial stance with him insistent that the club will be able to register their new signings regardless of whether or not their No.21 stays or leaves this summer.
“Frenkie’s our player, and we want him to stay at Barcelona. He wants to stay too,” Laporta said on Friday. “With him and his teammates, we have a very powerful midfield. He has offers, but we want him to stay”.
On top of this, Tuchel’s recent admission that a midfielder was not a ‘priority’ at this current moment is another obstacle to overcome for Boehly in this transfer pursuit but he can take some satisfaction that his greatest rival for this signing are starting to slowly back off.