Manchester United could indirectly deal a blow to Arsenal and Liverpool’s summer transfer plans by completing the signing of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong. Manager Xavi Hernandez is ready to take his latest dip into the Premier League market to replace the Dutchman, targeting two of the top-flight’s most exciting stars.
United have entered formal talks with Barcelona over the transfer of De Jong after Erik ten Hag identified him as the priority target of his inaugural transfer window at Old Trafford. It is believed an initial fee in the region of the £65million Barcelona paid Ajax for his signature in 2019 would be enough to persuade them to sell.
And if the Catalan giants recoup their asking price for De Jong, Sport report they would look to reinvest the money to bolster Xavi’s midfield and attack this summer. In particular, he is interested in signing Leeds United winger Raphinha and Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves.
Xavi has commonly looked to the Premier League to bolster his squad throughout his short tenure as Barcelona manager. In January, the La Liga outfit bolstered their attacking options with permanent deals for Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore on loan.
Barcelona’s interest in Neves and Raphinha could make Arsenal and Liverpool sweat. In April, Sky Sports claimed the Gunners had made the former a ‘top summer target’ as Mikel Arteta eyes midfield reinforcements. Meanwhile, Liverpool have been linked with Raphinha as uncertainty over Mohamed Salah’s long-term future at Anfield grows.
Whether either club will make a move for their respective targets this summer remains to be seen. Arsenal’s interest has seemingly shifted towards Leicester City star Youri Tielemans, who will leave the King Power Stadium this window. And Liverpool’s imminent £85million capture of Darwin Nunez likely rules out another high-profile attacking signing.
Arsenal have also been credited with an interest in Raphinha, with Arteta desperate for reinforcements across his forward line. The Gunners offloaded Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on a free transfer in January and Alexandre Lacazette looks set to follow suit this summer.
But Barcelona’s interest, if they garner the funds through De Jong’s sale, could prove fatal to Premier League interest in Neves and the Brazilian winger. And a deal that would see the 25-year-old join Ten Hag in Manchester is expected to pick up pace after international duty concludes next week.
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