Chelsea are reportedly hopeful of beating Manchester United to signing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong this summer.
The Blues are willing to match United’s agreed fee of £71million for the Holland international and can offer De Jong a continuation of Champions League football this season.
United have not given up the pursuit of a player manager Erik ten Hag made the priority signing of his first summer but De Jong is reluctant to move to Old Trafford and play in the Europa League.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are now in talks with the Catalan giants and are optimistic of being able to agree a deal with the 25-year-old, according to The Athletic.
Despite Chelsea’s interest, de Jong is still top of United’s transfer wish list, as new boss ten Hag would like a reunion with his former Ajax midfielder.
The transfer saga has rumbled on for over three months now, but United remain undeterred in their pursuit of the Dutch international.
De Jong is said to be happy at Barcelona, but the Catalan giants have finances to consider and if they wish to appease LaLiga and register a whole host of new signings, the midfielder would be the logical departure.
The Spanish giants have openly revealed their desire to sell de Jong in order to help them register new summer signings Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, and Jules Kounde.
The holdup in the deal, however, is due to an outstanding amount in the region of £17m in back payments owed to De Jong by Barca after deferring payments on his wages during the pandemic.
Despite selling off various TV rights and assets to fund their summer spending spree, Barcelona don’t have the money to pay de Jong back. If they did, they wouldn’t be able to register some of their signings.
Quite rightfully, de Jong wants to be paid what he is owed. Barca would like to keep him, but realise that’s an unlikely scenario, so much so that president Joan Laporta has suggested de Jong should take a drastic pay cut if he really wants to stay.