In his most recent game for the Dutch national side, Frenkie de Jong offered a simple reminder of how good a player he can be to the board of Barcelona.
It’s true that he has flattered to deceive the Blaugrana, and maybe his comments struck a nerve.
De Jong, to his credit, has remained steadfast in not addressing rumors linking him with Manchester United, other than to say he prefers to stay at the Camp Nou.
After his performance against Belgium, where he was head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch, Joan Laporta would be well within his rights to question whether there are no other players that can be sold to alleviate any perceived financial imbalance.
De Jong’s comments about wanting to be the first midfielder to receive the ball would put him in direct competition with Sergio Busquets of course and, frankly, you or I standing on the surface of the moon has more chance of happening than Busi being benched for the most part.
It’s true that our captain has lost a yard of pace and isn’t the player he once was, and so to that end, it’s easy to understand Frankie’s frustrations,
However, Sergio is part of the fabric of the golden age of the club, and Laporta will fight tooth and nail to hang on to every last vestige of that for as long as is possible.
Given that Busi can’t go on forever, and the Dutchman has shown no penchant for leaving, it’s surely not beyond the realms of possibility that Frenkie hangs in there for another year to 18 months and then gets his preferred role as he’s hitting his supposed peak years.
Or will the club attempt to force through the move given that he hasn’t set the world alight often enough and they can still get a pretty penny for him?
With things hanging in abeyance at this juncture, perhaps his comments will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back as far as the president is concerned.
The Red Devils have been heavily linked with the Dutchman since Erik ten Hag joined the club, however, it looked a difficult task to pry him away from Spain. With the two clubs deep in negotiations, it is thought United will fork out €80m (£68.7m) for the 25-year-old.
De Jong joined Barcelona from Ajax in 2019 for an initial fee of €75 million and has made over 100 appearances for the Spanish giants since.
De Jong and the Red Devils boss two years together at Ajax before his transfer, with the midfielder becoming a fan’s favorite during his time at the Johan Cruyff Arena - playing a key part in Ajax’s success in the 2018/19 Champions League campaign.
With De Jong still not even reaching his prime years, it is hoped that Ten Hag will be able to bring back the player that he coached in the Netherlands.
United has been desperate for improvement in the midfield and is now lacking squad depth following the departures of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, and Juan Mata.
With a huge squad overhaul already in the works, De Jong could be Ten Hag’s first in a long list of summer transfers.
United have also been linked with the likes of Darwin Nunez, Christian Eriksen and Pau Torres.