Erik ten Hag faces third possible Man Utd transfer snub as Chelsea consider hijacking move

De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links

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Manchester United’s difficulties in landing summer transfer targets could strike again in their attempts to sign Inter Milan defender Denzel Dumfries. United are keen to rebuild their squad following Erik ten Hag’s arrival as manager but are finding things tough going in the transfer market so far, with their weak hand being undermined by the competition.

Ten Hag is being backed by around £120million in transfer funds from the Glazer family, who are keen to kickstart a new era under the former Ajax manager. United are set to lose a significant number of players on free transfers at the end of the month and are struggling to attract high-quality players at present.

Inter Milan defender Dumfries is understood to be a transfer target for Ten Hag, who wants to strengthen his options at right-back because he is unconvinced by Aaron Wan-Bissaka. But United face serious competition from Chelsea, according to Gazetta dello Sport, who report that Thomas Tuchel’s side could make a £21million bid for the Netherlands international.

Chelsea have a stronger proposition than United due to their ability to offer Champions League football next season, after finishing third in the Premier League last season, while they also have another trump card. The Blues are currently in separate negotiations with Inter, who are keen to take Romelu Lukaku back on loan after his club-record £97.5m transfer did not work out in west London.

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The two clubs are yet to agree on the terms of the deal, with a loan fee a sticking point, but it seems Chelsea could steal a march on United. If that is the case then Dumfries won’t be the first player to snub United in favour of a rival.

Darwin Nunez completed his move from Benfica to Liverpool on Tuesday after the Reds agreed to pay the Portuguese club a fee which will rise to £85m. The 22-year-old striker was in high demand but decided against a move to Old Trafford in favour of Liverpool, despite Ten Hag personally asking for Nunez’s signing.


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United’s current priority in the transfer window is Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, but they are also experiencing difficulties there too. Barca will sell De Jong, but are insisting on a fee of £86m (€100m) for his signature – some way off United’s valuation of £52m (€60m) with add-ons for the 25-year-old midfielder.

De Jong has also suggested he is more than happy to stay put at Barcelona, meaning United may fall short in signing Ten Hag’s top target, who he worked with so successfully during his time at Ajax. United do have other targets – Ajax’s winger Antony and RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku among them – but it appears getting signings over the line could prove difficult for Ten Hag.

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