Incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag continues to pursue a deal for former AFC Ajax and current Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong this summer as part of his rebuilding program at Old Trafford.
But Barcelona boss Xaxi is prepared to fight tooth and nail to retain the services of the Dutch international despite rumors that De Jong is unhappy in the Catalan capital, and a tug-of-war has broken out between the two clubs.
That report comes via Sky Sports in Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg, who stated that Xavi is fighting to keep the Dutchman but those efforts could come under fire given some of the transfer targets that Barça could prioritize this summer.
De Jong and #MUFC. It could become one of the biggest transfers in summer. It’s hot but Xavi is fighting for him internally as reported. He wants to keep him but Barca needs money for players like Lewandowski… Ten Hag wants him for his tactical ideas. https://t.co/9gTl7fW5Iq
— Florian Plettenberg (@Plettigoal) May 17, 2022
The Spanish giants remain in the hunt for Robert Lewandowski who is rumored to be set to depart Bayern Munich this summer, with Barcelona prepared to clash with the likes of Chelsea and Newcastle lining up in the queue for the Polish star.
Any sale of De jong would make funds to secure a deal for Lewandowski readily available, which means that Ten Hag could well get his wish of reuniting with the central midfielder once again after the two had a successful time together in Amsterdam.
But should Manchester United be unable to prize De Jong from Spain, they could turn their attention toward Serbian international Sergej Milinković-Savić who they have previously tracked for a number of years and he remains on the United shortlist this summer according to reports in Italy.
The rumored price tag of €70m may not prove to be a stumbling block for United, and Italian super-agent Roberto De Fanti stated “I believe this summer could be the time that Milinkovic-Savic leaves Lazio and I won’t be surprised if the destination is Manchester United. I can say for sure that there are already whispers in the industry that he could move to Old Trafford in time for next season.”
Lazio boss Mauricio Sarri echoed a similar sentiment though did not confirm that he felt Milinković-Savić was destined to depart, but according to quotes provided by Fabrizio Romano, Sarri did state that he felt if the Serbian midfielder did leave, he would be off to a foreign club rather than remaining in Serie A.
With United guaranteed to lose both Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matić in the summer, a deal for a key central figure is of the utmost priority if Ten Hag is to instill his tactical schematics as quickly as possible.