Manchester United may have been given a glimmer of hope regarding Erik ten Hag’s interest in Frenkie de Jong. Neither Xavi nor Joan Laporta are keen to part ways with the Barcelona star over the coming transfer windows, but the door doesn’t appear to be closed completely.
Ten Hag made De Jong his top target after taking the job at Old Trafford, having already worked together at Ajax. Despite their prior partnership, the midfielder stood firm in his desire to stay at the Camp Nou, where he supposedly dreamed of playing as a child.
That didn’t stop the Red Devils pushing until the bitter end, however, with the financial aspects of a £73million deal supposedly agreed. But the player himself refused to give his blessing in a messy, long-running saga that saw club president Laporta publicly call for the Dutchman to take a massive pay cut.
As it stands, De Jong is still eating up a considerable chunk of La Blaugrana’s wage bill with further talks on a new, reduced contract thought to be in the pipeline.
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“The first 35 minutes were good, impressive,” said Ten Hag after the final whistle. “Even then we had our sloppy moments, but we had a good formation on the ball, good passages of play and the chances we created were good in the first half.
“[Casemiro] is experienced. Even after a small mistake, he [remained] composed, he is doing the right things. He has a huge impact on the game by winning so many balls and always in good positions to receive balls, to link up, to pass around, and he was really important with the goal. A good ball in, a good pass to Cristiano [Ronaldo] and a good finish.”