Frenkie de Jong has reportedly told Manchester United’s hierarchy that he intends to remains at Barcelona this summer.
The 25-year-old has been the subject of much speculation throughout this summer, with Red Devils head coach Erik ten Hag identifying the midfielder as his primary target.
Earlier this month, United were understood to have reached a ‘full agreement’ with Barca to sign De Jong for a transfer package totalling to €85m (£72m).
However, the Premier League giants are no closer to luring the Dutchman to Old Trafford as his desire is still to remain in Catalonia.
According to Spanish news outlet Cadena Ser, De Jong has informed United’s hierarchy that he will remain a Barcelona player this summer, while he has also spoken to his Catalan teammates about his decision to stay put at Camp Nou.
It Is thought that United are still confident that they can sign De Jong before the summer transfer window closes despite the midfielder’s stance on his future.
Barca also remain hopeful that they can offload the Netherlands international amid their well-documented financial predicament, although money owed to the player has complicated matters.
While De Jong is allegedly prepared to take a wage cut to remain at Barca, the club still owe him around €17m (£14.5m) in deferred salary payments and the midfielder is entitled to receive this sum if he fulfils his contract at Camp Nou until June 2026.
A recent report claims that De Jong may only consider an exit from Barcelona if he receives an offer from Chelsea, but as things stand the Blues are unwilling to match United’s bid for the former Ajax man.
Earlier this summer, De Jong spoke publicly about his desire to stay at Barcelona despite interest from Ten Hag’s side, and claims that he is already representing the “biggest club in the world”.
Speaking to ESPN, the midfielder said: “I prefer to stay with Barcelona. Barcelona is just my dream club. Also from a young age. I just said it too. I’ve never regretted my choice despite the fact that I had hoped for more in terms of prizes than I’ve achieved so far. But I have never regretted my choice.
“You are always flattered when teams show interest in you as a player. But I think I am at the biggest club in the world at the moment and feel fine there so there is no news.”
Since joining Barcelona from Ajax in the summer of 2019, De Jong has made 138 appearances for the Catalan giants across all competitions, recording 13 goals and 17 assists as well as winning the Copa del Rey in 2020-21.
Should United fail in their pursuit of De Jong, Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is believed to be one of their first-choice alternatives, while moves for the likes of Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves have also been mooted.
Meanwhile, if Barca are unable to offload De Jong, Cadena Ser claims that the La Liga outfit will contemplate selling goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen who is believed to be one of the club’s highest earners.