Manchester United may find it “difficult” to bring in a top-class midfielder this summer if they were to miss out on Frenkie de Jong.
That’s according to Mark Goldbridge, who has been speaking on the United We Stand YouTube channel amid the ongoing rumours linking De Jong with a move to Old Trafford.
According to The Athletic, new United manager Erik ten Hag has urged the club to ‘explore’ a potential reunion with the midfielder he coached at Ajax, with a deal thought to be ‘plausible’ due to Barcelona’s financial worries.
However, Fabrizio Romano has told FIVE (via United in Focus) in the last month that the midfield maestro wants to play in the Champions League next season, which may be a concern for the United board given that they will be in the Europa League come the new campaign.
Wolves dynamo Ruben Neves is another name that has been mentioned as the Red Devils look to reshape their stale midfield, and journalist Rob Blanchette has revealed that a bid for the Portuguese is imminent.
Blanchette’s comments would seem to suggest that Ten Hag has his eyes on signing both players if possible, but Goldbridge is aware that the club could end up with neither.
He said: “The competition for Neves is [there]. There are four or five clubs that want Neves, so it’s not like we can just go, ‘oh we didn’t get De Jong, let’s get Neves’, because you drop into a race where there’s clubs who are in the Champions League who want Neves – and he might choose them over us.
“So it’s difficult if we don’t get De Jong. I’m not going to lie about it.”
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Despite the lack of football at Europe’s top table, Ten Hag’s history with De Jong could well be enough to convince the player to make the switch.
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Journalist Pete O’Rourke certainly seems to think the affiliation between the pair could be the deal-breaker, with cash-strapped Barca willing to accept €60m (£51.3m) in order to get the 2019 Champions League Midfielder of the Season off their books.
So to ease Goldbridge’s concern, a move may well be possible, and once the international window is cleared, progress will be made.