A player heavily linked with Manchester United throughout 2022 has effectively put the possible transfer to bed by revealing he wants to remain at his current club for the next 10 years.
Man Utd have been scouring the Dutch market for potential new signings ever since Erik ten Hag became their manager in the summer. Their hunt involves players either shining in the Eredivisie or Dutchmen operating abroad.
Cody Gakpo is high on their wish list. The PSV star was holding out for a move to Old Trafford this summer, but Man Utd didn’t meet his price tag.
Gakpo continues to prove he is far too good for PSV, while he is still open to that big-money move. This brings up the possibility of the forward signing for Man Utd in January.
However, the Red Devils will have to fight off some big teams to land him. Reports claim scouts from Liverpool and Real Madrid have been impressed by Gakpo.
Frenkie de Jong is also wanted by Ten Hag and Man Utd. In the summer, he was viewed as the ideal midfield signing to take the side to the next level.
Man Utd chiefs came to an agreement with Barcelona for his transfer after months of negotiations. However, De Jong refused to start contract talks with Man Utd and signalled his desire to remain in Catalonia.
Denzel Dumfries is another player to have been linked with Man Utd. Ten Hag apparently wants the wing-back to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who is set to be sold.
Man Utd are yet to begin discussions with Inter Milan over Dumfries’ potential signing, though.
Man Utd handed major setback in midfielder chase
The Manchester giants did have some success in the Dutch market, landing centre-half Lisandro Martinez and Brazilian winger Antony from Ten Hag’s former club Ajax. Plus, left-back Tyrell Malacia joined from Feyenoord.
However, any hopes Ten Hag had of adding De Jong to his ranks in 2023 have been well and truly dashed.
During an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the midfielder was asked about his future plans and whether he could secure a transfer away from Barca.
“I am very happy in Barcelona,” De Jong replied (via Fabrizio Romano). “When I play it’s great and in terms of living here, life is perfect. I see myself at Barcelona for as long as possible.”
He added: “I personally hope for another 8 or 10 years.”
De Jong has firmly put the Man Utd rumours to bed by insisting he will be a Barca player for the long run, potentially up to 10 years.
Ten Hag will be frustrated at the star’s latest comments. He was aiming to create a top-class midfield by pairing De Jong with Casemiro.
Instead, the manager will have to focus on other midfielders who might become available in 2023. One example is Sassuolo and Italy man Davide Frattesi.
Earlier this week, De Jong spoke about his close bond with Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk. “When I look behind me and I see Virgil van Dijk, it gives me a feeling of calmness. A feeling of safety,” he revealed.
This led to some suggestions the Ajax academy graduate may move to Liverpool, rather than Man Utd. But it seems he is aiming to become a Barca legend by playing there for more than a decade.