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Manchester United suffer major transfer blow after emergency meeting with Erik ten Hag's no.1 target

Manchester United suffer major transfer blow after emergency meeting with Erik ten Hag's no.1 target

Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong appears to be progressing with extending his Camp Nou contract

Manchester United face a key summer as they aim to close the gap to the summit of the Premier League, in what will be the first transfer window after Sir Jim Ratcliffe's minor stake in the Old Trafford club was confirmed.

Ratcliffe's £1.25bn investment in United has recently been completed, meaning his INEOS firm now owns around 25 per cent of the Red Devils and have taken over the club's football operations, with the Glazer family holding the majority of the club's shares but no longer in overall control.

United were quiet and made no signings in the January transfer window - a common theme across the Premier League - and are currently sit sixth in the Premier League table, bringing themselves back into the conversation to achieve Champions League football next season.

United are five points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa prior to Saturday's fixtures after four successive wins in the top flight.

They will aim to maintain or close that gap when Erik ten Hag's side face Fulham this afternoon at Old Trafford, while the Villans take on Nottingham Forest at Villa Park.

The upcoming transfer window has several questions surrounding it, with plenty of players' futures within the current United squad up in the air and it could be a busy few months during INEOS's first summer in place at Old Trafford.

As well as outs, ins are very much needed, and one player in particular has persisted as a target for United since Ten Hag was installed as the Old Trafford boss back in 2022.

Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong is a long-time Manchester United transfer target. (

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has been linked with United and was close to becoming a player at Old Trafford when the Red Devils lodged a £70m bid for the Netherlands international, only for De Jong to opt to remain at the Camp Nou.

The 26-year-old's current Barca contract runs until the summer of 2026, meaning the midfielder will soon have two years remaining on his deal.

But United appear to have suffered a blow to their hopes of trying to bring the former Ajax midfielder to OId Trafford.

According to Spanish publication Sport, De Jong's agent Ali Dursun has engaged in what has been described as "fruitful discussions" with the Catalan giants over a potential contract renewal in an emergency meeting with Barca's football director Deco.

Though the deal is said to be on a reduced salary, owing to Barcelona's precarious financial situation and the need to reduce their wage bill, with De Jong currently sitting on the offer.

The player himself has made it clear where he wants to be playing his football, recently saying: "I'm doing great here. I'm very happy at Barça, it's the club of my dreams and I hope to continue playing here for many years."

It appears United may well have to look at other central midfield transfer targets, if De Jong agrees a new contract at Barca.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Barcelona, Frenkie De Jong, Manchester United, Transfers