Erik ten Hag has seemingly made the Barcelona midfielder his top priority this summer ahead of his first season in charge at Old Trafford.
However, the two clubs don’t appear to be getting any closer to a deal, with Barca’s ‘terminal’ financial crisis intervening heavily on many transfers across Europe, it would appear.
The player himself recently admitted that he was flattered by the interest but did stress that he is content at continuing at what he called ‘the biggest club in the world’ in Catalonia.
De Jong’s comments followed an interview the maestro conducted with ESPN back in May where he talked about not regretting signing for the Blaugrana and how it was his ‘dream club’ from a ‘young age’ – and that has left an ill feeling in the mind of Lewis.
Do you see De Jong leaving Barcelona for Man Utd?
He said: “I think if you’re looking to change the culture at a club and you want to rebuild, you need players who are committed to what you are trying to do, and it sounds very much as though United are throwing money at this guy in the hope that he will agree to change his mind, and for me, that’s a bit of a red flag early doors.
“I don’t know, I think you’ve got to have people who don’t feel they’re doing you a favour if you’re trying to go in the right direction.”
TIF Thoughts on De Jong to United…
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The reported sum of money that United would have to ‘throw’ is €80m (£68.6m) while their initial approach of €60m plus €10m in add-ons (£60m) was turned down by the cash-strapped Catalans, who are seemingly hoping to exhume every penny they can get.
However, with the player likely to want a hike on his £164k-per-week wages, suddenly a deal becomes extortionate, and having just seen a £93.2m signing walk out the door for nothing after a rather unconvincing spell, perhaps United should heed Lewis’ warning and think twice.
The connection between Dutch duo Ten Hag and De Jong is likely to be a good omen for the club, though, and perhaps the 43-cap international doesn’t want to distance himself from Barca supporters with his comments if he is to stay at Camp Nou.