Man Utd chief Richard Arnold goes back on promise to intervene during transfer talks | Football | Sport


Manchester United chief executive Richard Arnold has broken a promise he made to fans by getting personally involved in negotiations for Frenkie de Jong. Arnold was filmed in Barcelona on Monday with football director John Murtough as United attempted to finally break the deadlock in talks with Barcelona for the Dutch midfielder.

De Jong was picked out by Erik ten Hag as his priority transfer target earlier in the summer. United have been in talks with Barcelona for a prolonged period of time without making much progress – in part due to Barca’s difficult financial situation.

United reportedly agreed a deal at the end of June to sign the 25-year-old midfielder for an initial fee of £56million, which could rise to £70m with add-ons. But cash-strapped Barca have since backtracked on that agreement in a bid to maximise the transfer fee so they can bring in targets of their own, like Leeds winger Raphinha and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

Ten Hag has taken his squad to Thailand for the first leg of United’s pre-season tour, but the day before their 4-0 friendly win over Liverpool, Arnold and Murtough were pictured in Barcelona, holding a meeting with their Barcelona counterparts Mateu Alemany, Rafa Yuste and Jordi Cruyff.

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“Money is not a consideration on who we want. The manager wants him [De Jong] and they have actually done the work. He’s a great player. Is it 100 or 200 [million]? I don’t know. Get who you f***ing want. Do you want me buying the players? Does that not ring a bell?”

Arnold was referring to his predecessor in the chief executive role, Ed Woodward, who was frequently criticised for his work in the transfer market. Woodward had a background in banking, not football, and made plenty of questionable decisions which many fans think directly hindered the club’s progress in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.

Arnold vowed to take a more removed approach but has become involved recently due to a lack of progress on transfers. Tyrell Malacia remains the only arrival this summer in a £13m deal from Feyenoord, with deals for De Jong, Christian Eriksen and Ajax duo Anthony and Lisandro Martinez yet to materialise.

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