Frenkie de Jong aware of Man Utd interest; Barcelona stay 'preferred'

Graeme Bailey
Frenkie de Jong is wanted by Manchester United
Frenkie de Jong is wanted by Manchester United / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

Frenkie de Jong admits that although he would prefer to stay at Barcelona, he is aware of Manchester United's interest.

De Jong has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent weeks after Erik ten Hag, his former manager at Ajax, took over from Ralf Rangnick as United's new permanent manager.

90min revealed earlier in May that Ten Hag had pieced together a list of potential signings, with De Jong identified as one of the club's primary transfer targets.

The 26-year-old is currently with the Netherlands squad ahead of the upcoming Nations League fixtures, but was immediately asked about his future at club level when he addressed the media.

"Of course I hear about the links to Manchester United," De Jong told ADSportwereld. "But the people in charge of the club (Barça) didn't tell me anything. So then I will assume that there is no agreement, and that nothing is going on. So then I won't worry about it too.

"If I have been in contact with Ten Hag? I won't tell you this. I wouldn't tell you this if it was about another manager or club too. I did talk with Xavi about next season, but that was just about football, about the squad and what is needed to improve.

Listen now to 90min's brand new podcast, Talking Transfers, with Scott SaundersGraeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth. This week they discuss whether Sadio Mane will leave Liverpool for Bayern Munich, Manchester United's pursuit of Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, Newcastle's plans for Moussa Diaby and Sven Botman & Jorginho's future at Chelsea.

"I understand that. But the club didn't tell me anything," the Dutchman continued when asked about a potential move. "They didn't propose anything to me, so I am assuming that nothing is going on. I don't want to talk about rumours anymore.

When asked by ESPN about his preferred next steps, De Jong added: "I prefer to stay with Barcelona. Barcelona is just my dream club. Also from a young age. I just said it too. I've never regretted my choice despite the fact that I had hoped for more in terms of prizes than I've achieved so far. But I have never regretted my choice."

Asked whether he'd at least talk to United or other clubs, De Jong admitted that he'd take a phone call - but reaffirmed that there's nothing to talk about at this stage.

"Well, yes. But you always do that," he replied. "What I'm saying, there is absolutely nothing of an agreement or anything official. At the moment there is no question of it at all.

"Not that I know of in any case. Or they must not have told me, but I don't think so."

Xavi is a big fan of De Jong's abilities
Xavi is a big fan of De Jong's abilities / ANP/GettyImages

90min understands that Barcelona's board are willing to sanction an exit for De Jong due to their precarious financial situation. Indeed, the Dutchman is on a substantial wage, and the club must monitor their spending despite signing Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen on free transfers, in addition to rewarding Ansu Fati, Pedri and, if all goes to plan, Gavi with new and improved contracts.

As for Xavi, he has previously admitted to liking De Jong as a player, but admitted finances may dictate any decision Barca makes.

"For me, Frenkie is a great player, he’s a beast - I like him and I think he can be part of an important era of the club," he said. “We will see the economic situation of the club but I like De Jong.”