Manchester United have warned Frenkie de Jong that they will move onto other targets unless he makes it clear he wants to join the club, according to reports.
The Red Devils are looking to strengthen their squad this summer ahead of Erik ten Hag's first season at the helm. Midfield is one area in particular need of bolstering, with Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Juan Mata all set to depart when their contracts expire on June 30.
De Jong has emerged as one of United (opens in new tab)'s top targets, with Barcelona (opens in new tab) open to a sale. The Catalan club are in financial difficulty and would be willing to sell at least one first-team player in order to balance the books.
De Jong worked with Ten Hag at Ajax (opens in new tab) before his switch to the Camp Nou in 2019.
Sport (opens in new tab), a Spanish publication, writes that United have contacted De Jong's camp to find out if he would be interested in a move to Old Trafford. But the Netherlands international has not yet given them a clear answer, and United are running out of patience.
The Red Devils are prepared to turn their attention to other targets if De Jong turns down their offer. United are in limbo at present as they wait for a response, and they are attempting to hurry the process along.
De Jong is happy at Barcelona and does not particularly want to leave the club.
However, the midfielder also wants to feel valued and he could seek pastures new if he feels Barcelona are happy to let him leave. There is likely to be stiff competition for places at the Camp Nou next season, as Xavi Hernandez's side attempt to mount a La Liga title challenge.
De Jong played some of the best football of his career under Ten Hag, who is hoping to use that pre-existing relationship to United's advantage. However, the club's absence from the Champions League next term will make it harder for them to sign players like the Dutchman.
More Manchester United stories
New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been speaking to the press as he takes control of the Red Devils. The 52-year-old has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo remains a part of his plans heading into next season, while suggesting that he may need patience to transform Old Trafford in his image.
Rumours are rife that the club are looking to slash the wage bill – with PSG lining up one final attempt to sway Paul Pogba to Paris. There could be plenty of incomings, too: Frenkie de Jong remains a key target at £67.5m, while Raphinha of Leeds is on the radar. Jurrien Timber is one name heavily linked, while United are long-term admirers of Lazio man Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
One slightly leftfield potential buy would be Christian Eriksen from Brentford, who is out of contract following the end of the season.
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Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).
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