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Manchester United still in talks for Frenkie de Jong

Manchester United are reportedly still hoping to secure a late deal for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, having been linked with the Dutchman throughout the summer window.

What’s the word?

That’s according to journalist Rudy Galetti, who revealed on Twitter: “#DeJong#ManUTD: talks still ongoing with #Barcelona and player’s agent. Next hours will be decisive: evolving situation.”

The Red Devils had struck an €85m (£72m) agreement with the La Liga side for the 25-year-old back in early July, although no progress has since been made with the issue of deferred payments and the player’s reported reluctance to join the club posing notable obstacles.

The latest suggestion had been that a deal for the 44-cap gem would be “highly unlikely” – according to journalist Sam Pilger – with United’s £70m capture of Casemiro having seemingly ended hopes of signing the Netherlands international.

Murtough heroics

With deadline day now in touching distance, it looks as if any move for the former Ajax man will go right down to the wire, with it set to take some late heroics from technical director John Murtough to secure what would be a notable coup right at the death.

While Erik ten Hag suggested in his pre-Leicester City press conference on Wednesday afternoon that the additions of Antony and Martin Dubravka are likely to be the “end” of the club’s business, the 52-year-old did tease further incomings after stating: “when there is great opporunity you always have to be alert as a top club.”

Do you think De Jong will sign?

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Whether De Jong is a potential ‘great opportunity’ so late in the day remains to be seen, although it would no doubt spark something of a frenzy among supporters if the £54m-rated sensation were to be plucked before Thursday’s deadline.

Reuniting with his compatriot could well prove crucial to Ten Hag’s ability to implement his style of play, with the pair having worked together during their time in Amsterdam, the midfielder notably one of the key members of the side that romped to the Champions League semi-finals back in 2019.

His form in Holland had seen the 5 foot 11 sensation lauded by the current United boss at the time, with the latter man stating: “His quality is that he makes the forwards perform better. He is a wanderer, an adventurer, he’s always on the move, like a shark. With the ball, often, but also without the ball.”

The arrival of such a dynamic presence in the centre of the park could well be vital to sparking an improvement at the Theatre of Dreams, with the much-maligned, albeit hard-working, pairing of Fred and Scott McTominay no doubt having their limitations.

De Jong, however, is one of the most impressive players in his position in Europe, notably sparkling with his wandering ability – as Ten Hag alluded to – to drive up the pitch from deep and initiate attacks, with that fact highlighted by the fact that he averages 6.81 progressive carries per 90, as per FBref – ranking him in the top 7% in that regard among his peers.

The aforementioned Fred, by contrast, averages just 2.95 progressive carries per game, while teammate McTominay’s record is only marginally better at 4.74 per 90, with the Manchester outfit no doubt lacking that real quality link between defence and attack.

Although those of a United persuasion will hardly be getting their hopes after a summer of disappointment regarding the Barcelona man, if Galetti’s report is to be believed there could well still be a chance of striking a deal.

The end of the summer saga will end, one way or another, tomorrow…

Article title: Manchester United still in talks for Frenkie de Jong

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