According to a report in The Guardian, the United boss has told the club’s football director, John Murtough, that even if De Jong isn’t signed in time for their first game of the Premier League season against Brighton & Hove Albion, they should continue to chase him.
The Red Devils have already agreed to a €75m (£63m) fee with Barcelona for the player, and the Spanish giants are keen for him to leave as they need the funds to help aid their financial instabilities.
However, the Dutchman has no desire to leave and has been named as part of their pre-season squad for their summer tour.
Is this latest move by Ten Hag a show of defiance to the player’s wish to remain in Catalonia, or does he fear that backing out now would just add to the embarrassment?
United need to be careful if they’re to avoid a repeat of 2014 and the signing of Angel Di Maria. The Argentine moved to Old Trafford from Real Madrid for a then British record £59.7m, at the start of United’s last dutch manager Louis van Gaal’s reign.
It was clear that he didn’t want to be at the club after he wrote an open letter to Madrid fans explaining that he never wanted to leave. It was a disastrous signing, with the player having trouble on the pitch making just 32 appearances, and off it where he was the victim of a break-in.
The deal for De Jong bears many similarities, and if anything has changed at the club, then United should think twice about continuing with trying to persuade the player to join.
The 25-year-old has worked with Ten Hag before so you might think he’d be keen, but he is a key part of Barcelona’s team, with manager Xavi describing him as a “genius“.
De Jong is also owed a colossal £17m in deferred wages, so unless that can be sorted it’s likely he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.