Frenkie de Jong ‘thinks time has come’ as Man Utd battle to sign Barcelona star

De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links in June

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Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong thinks his time at the club ‘has come’, according to reports in Spain. Manchester United and Chelsea both have transfer interest in the Netherlands international, who is one of world football’s best midfielders. However, there’s still no indication he’ll move to the Premier League due to his reluctance to leave the Nou Camp behind.

Barcelona signed De Jong back in the summer transfer window of 2019, shortly after the midfielder had helped Ajax win the Eredivisie title and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

But he’s often struggled for form during his spell in Catalonia.

And, now, Sport say the 25-year-old thinks his ‘time has come’ in order to be a huge Barcelona hit and finally realise his potential.

De Jong is said to have been forced to ‘swallow’ aimless projects at the club, with the publication suggesting he’s been unhappy under three of his previous managers.

Ernesto Valverde was Barcelona boss at the time of the Netherlands international’s arrival.

Yet the team were beginning to wane under the Spaniard and, just months on, he was relieved of his duties following his failure to win the Spanish Super Cup.

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Quique Setien then came in.

But Setien was a disaster, with Barcelona failing to develop and also slumping to a nightmare 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in August 2020.

After Setien, Barcelona decided to hire Ronald Koeman.

Yet Koeman primarily used De Jong as a centre-back throughout his Barcelona reign and there was always a sense he was doomed to fail right from the very start.

These days, Barcelona are managed by Xavi – who won eight La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns during his time as a midfielder at the club.

And De Jong is said to be optimistic about the future, believing Barcelona finally having a strong sporting project in place as they look to return to the top.

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It’s certainly been a fruitful summer for the fallen La Liga giants off the pitch.

They managed to sign Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie on free transfers, with the pair arriving from Chelsea and AC Milan respectively.

They then proceeded to raid Leeds for Raphinha, beating Arsenal and Chelsea to the signing of the Brazil international.

Barcelona were successful in prising Robert Lewandowski away from Bayern Munich, with the Poland international leaving the Bundesliga giants after eight years.

And Jules Kounde has followed from Sevilla.

Barcelona also want to add Bernardo Silva to their star-studded squad, believing the Manchester City star would be a huge hit at the Nou Camp.

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However, De Jong is thought to be key to that deal potentially going ahead – and his reluctance to leave doesn’t bode well.

United remain frontrunners for the 25-year-old if he does end up joining, having already agreed a fee with Barcelona.

But Chelsea can’t be entirely ruled out, with Thomas Tuchel supposedly an admirer of the player just like Erik ten Hag.

Meanwhile, former Manchester City star Micah Richards has admitted he’s ‘staggered’ by the way the De Jong saga has played out.

Though United have agreed a fee with Barcelona for the midfielder, they’ve also spent three months pursuing the former Ajax star.

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And Richards told the Daily Mail: “There has been too much drama but it’s not going away and I didn’t like the footage that emerged of Ronaldo turning his back on Ten Hag when the manager was giving him instructions. It came across as disrespectful.

“I’m also staggered by the pursuit of Frenkie de Jong.

“It has dragged on too long and it shows you one thing — United simply cannot attract players the way they used to.

“In the not too distant past, De Jong would have walked to Manchester to sign for the club.

“The fact that he is reluctant tells you everything.”

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