Football

Manchester United target Barcelona midfielder to replace Paul Pogba

Barcelona boss Xavi believes Frenkie de Jong has a big role to play in midfield despite the presence of Sergio Busquets, according to reports. De Jong has not had it easy at Barca since joining from Ajax in the summer of 2019. The Dutchman’s time at Blaugrana has coincided with the most uncertain spell at the club in recent history.

As Xavi prepares to take charge of his first game as Barcelona manager, transfer speculations surrounding some of his players continue to swirl.

Ever since Ronald Koeman was sacked there have been a lot of rumours about the future of midfielder Frenkie de Jong. Reports have claimed that Barca are ready to cash in on him in order to generate funds for the club while there have been murmurs of strong interest from Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

Now, Independent (h/t Metro) has added another name to the list of the Dutchman’s admirers, claiming that Manchester United have identified de Jong as the ideal candidate to replace contract rebel Paul Pogba.

The Frenchman is in the final year of his contract with the Red Devils and has shown no inclination towards signing a new deal as things stand. Largely expected to depart Old Trafford on a free transfer, the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner would leave a gaping hole in United’s midfield department.

And, in order to fill that vacancy, the 20-time English champions are now said to have identified Barca’s de Jong as a potential replacement. The 24-year-old has been a near ever-present in the starting XI for the Catalans since his €86 million move from AFC Ajax back in 2019.

However, as iterated earlier, question marks have been raised over his future of late. The report states that new manager Xavi is not entirely impressed by the Netherlands international, which could open the door for the club to sell him as they still need to make cuts to their wage bill.

De Jong’s contract with Barcelona runs until 2026 which means that they can demand a sizeable transfer fee for his services. Both the Manchester clubs would be in a position to meet such demands given their riches.

At 24, the midfielder has his best years ahead of him. But with the emergence of Pedri, Gavi and Nico Gonzalez, the Dutchman needs to step up his game if he wishes to save his Barca career. In case the Catalans do decide to offload him, they can rest assured that there will be no shortage of suitors. A crucial few months lie ahead for the ex-Willem II trainee.

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