Man United could shift their focus to midfielders like Youri Tielemans or Ruben Neves if they fail to land Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona.
United have been chasing De Jong since the start of the summer but they are nowhere close to agreeing on a deal. With each passing day, things are turning more complex and as per talkSPORT journalist Alex Crook, Erik ten Hag could be forced to activate his backup plans.
Crook said on talkSPORT: “I think they should probably walk away sooner, to be honest, bearing in mind the first contact between Manchester United and Barcelona was the middle of May – we are almost in the middle of July.
“This is a ridiculous situation. It has been a saga for too long. Either it’s going to happen or it’s not.
“I know Manchester United have a backup list. Youri Tielemans is on that list, as I understand it, as is Ruben Neves from Wolves.
“I would call Barcelona’s bluff now and say ‘either you sell him to us, or we will pay the same money and sign Ruben Neves’. He’s a player who is proven in the Premier League.”
Leicester’s Youri Tielemans and Wolves’ Ruben Neves are Manchester United's midfield targets should they fail to sign Barcelona’s Frenkie De Jong. (Talksport) pic.twitter.com/qRvFeTaXOu
— Transfer News Central (@TransferNewsCen) July 12, 2022
Will Man United be able to sign Frenkie de Jong?
Frenkie de Jong took a massive pay cut during the pandemic and Barcelona still owe him that money which is one of the major reasons why the midfielder is refusing to leave.
There are other rumours which are suggesting that the player is more than happy at Camp Nou and he has no intentions of joining Manchester United this summer.
Richard Arnold has also flown to Barcelona with football director John Murtough to try and secure a deal for Frenkie de Jong but there are still major doubts if the player will agree to leave his current club because he has close to £20 million in unpaid wages.
Will Tielemans or Ruben Neves be good enough backup plans?
Youri Tielemans has been heavily linked with Arsenal this summer and at one point Ruben Neves was linked with a move to Barcelona so both these players are available in the market – for the correct transfer price.
Tielemans is not close to joining Arsenal, as earlier thought so Man United have a great chance of signing him. Also, since he has only one year left on his current deal, a fee of around £30 million will be enough to bring him on board.
Ruben Neves, however, has two more years left on his contract and if Man United want to sign him then they will have to shell out about £45-55 million.
Both these players have proven their worth in the Premier League but Ruben Neves is someone who can fit into Ten Hag’s system a lot easier.
Under Nuno Espirito Santo, he was the midfield fulcrum of the side and since Pogba and Matic have both left this summer, Ruben Neves can very easily play that midfield anchor role at Manchester United next season.