Chelsea are close to an agreement with Barcelona for the transfer of Frenkie de Jong but are not yet convinced he wants to leave his current club, 90min understands.
The west London side have in recent weeks joined Premier League rivals Manchester United in pursuit of the Dutch international.
United have already agreed a fee with Barcelona worth an overall €85m to sign the player, though have not advanced the deal any further due to the issue of deferred wages which are still owed to De Jong by Barcelona. Sources indicate United remain confident the player will join them if the issue resolves but Chelsea are now strong competition.
De Jong has spoken to United manager Erik ten Hag on a number of occasions and the Old Trafford club have still not given up on the player, even as they target deals for other midfielders - namely Adrien Rabiot, who is expected to join from Juventus.
Chelsea are now pressing ahead in their move for the De Jong and are close to striking a deal of their own for the player, though will not officially lodge a bid until it's indicated that he will join them.
United have yet to agree to cover the entire cost of De Jong's deferred wages - in the region of €17m - to push the deal through, and were hoping for either Barcelona to meet them in the middle or De Jong's representatives to waive the remainder. Neither Barcelona nor the player's party have moved an inch.
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Chelsea, meanwhile, are prepared to cover the entire cost of the deferred wages to push the deal through. Their offer is set to be worth in the region of €80m, inclusive of the deferred wages and on the condition that Barcelona accept a lower transfer fee to resolve the issue. This bid will though only be lodged when they have an indication from De Jong that he will move.
United are waiting to see how Barcelona deal with the squad registration issue they must deal with ahead of their opening LaLiga fixture this weekend. As many as five new signings have not yet been registered to play in the game, with the Catalans attempting to cut costs in other places.
Barcelona are also interested in signing Bernardo Silva from Manchester City, though the English champions have denied they have agreed a deal for the Portuguese midfielder.