- Manchester United came agonisingly close to signing the midfielder in 2022
- Ten Hag managed De Jong for two seasons at Ajax, where they won the double
- CHRIS SUTTON: Erik ten Hag is still on trial. He needs more than gradual improvement this season to keep his job – It’s All Kicking Off podcast
Frenkie de Jong is closer than ever to a Barcelona exit, having grown discontent with the current situation at the club, according to reports.
The 26-year-old was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United in 2022, as his former Ajax manager Erik ten Hag set about building his squad upon his Old Trafford arrival.
United eventually made a £70m bid for him and a deal was nearly 90 per cent complete. However, despite sending club representatives out to Spain, United were unable to formalise a deal, with De Jong admitting that he wanted to stay at the LaLiga outfit.
Now 18 months later, the Netherlands international appears to be ready to depart the Spanish club as they continue to underwhelm on and off the pitch.
According to Relevo, the defensive midfielder’s situation this summer will be completely different, with there now being a willingness from both the player and club to part ways.
Frenkie De Jong is reportedly ready to call time on his Barcelona career, having tried so hard to stay in 2022
Erik ten Hag was determined to bring in the defensive midfielder when he arrived at the club in 2022
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De Jong is reportedly disappointed with the club’s current position and believes expectations have not been met, particularly when it comes to challenging for the Champions League.
Barcelona sit third in LaLiga, though there is no doubt their campaign has been a below par. The poor run of results saw Xavi announce that he will leave the club at the end of the season.
De Jong has not been exempt from those on-field failures. He has made 15 appearances in the league this term but has been far from the version of himself that prompted a clamour for his services in 2019
The club’s dire financial woes also persist, with players like De Jong still receiving outstanding wages that had been deferred from even more trying economic times.
All of this reportedly equates to a willingness from the club’s hierarchy to cash in on a player that still retains a high market value.
A summer move to United would see De Jong finally reunite with his old Ajax boss. The pair worked together from 2017-19, where they won the domestic double and reached a Champions League semi final in 2019.
Ten Hag is a big fan of De Jong after previously managing him when they were at Ajax
Casemiro could be on his way out of Manchester United at the end of the season having struggled to hit the form he showed in his debut campaign
United’s interest in De Jong persisted beyond their failed efforts in 2022 as they reiterated their desire to sign the midfielder last year. De Jong also reportedly told Ten Hag that he wanted to join the club.
After failing to land De Jong, United spent £60m to acquire Casemiro from Real Madrid. The veteran midfielder played an integral part in the Red Devils’ squad last term as they claimed the Carabao Cup and secured a top four finish.
But this season Casemiro’s struggles for form and fitness have paved the way for his exit this summer. In December, Mail Sport revealed that he was among the players former football director John Murtough discussed with representatives of the Saudi Pro League in Riyadh.