The Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United saga has dragged on for far too long, threatening to rival Ander Herrera and Jadon Sancho as the club's most ludicrous long-term pursuits. After all of the endeavour of Erik Ten Hag and his team, it now seems likely that de Jong will instead sign for United's Premier League rivals Chelsea.
Chelsea have been linked with a swoop for the Dutch midfielder in recent weeks, as their new owner Todd Boehly seeks to make a splash at Stamford Bridge.
Now, reports from the Spanish media seem to suggest that Chelsea are now the frontrunners for de Jong, in a development sure to draw the ire of Manchester United fans.
Frenkie de Jong Chelsea move now looking likely
Reputable Spanish journalist Gerard Romero revealed on Friday that Frenkie de Jong is now "likely" to join Chelsea.
🚨🚨 É provável que De Jong se junte ao CHELSEA.
Informação do @gerardromero.
— Thomas Alencar (@thomasalencr) August 6, 2022
Chelsea have recently signed Marc Cucurella (who was announced with a sly dig thrown at former club Brighton) and have also been linked with de Jong's Barcelona teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in recent days.
De Jong is understood to be under pressure to leave Barcelona in order to ease their extraordinary wage bill. The club's poor decisions in the transfer market have seen them ease closer and closer to financial ruin in recent years.
Despite this, the club have been on an extravagant run of signings during the transfer window, acquiring Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, Leeds United's Raphinha, and Sevilla's Jules Koundé, among others. However, La Liga regulations and the club's dire financial situation have prevented them from registering their new signings until they clear off their wage bill. With de Jong their top earner, a move to Chelsea would tick that box.
Manchester United have been heavily linked with signing the Dutch midfielder, and have had an agreement in place with Barcelona for nearly a month now for the signing. New United manager Erik Ten Hag previously coached de Jong when he burst onto the scene at Ajax as part of the team that reached the 2019 Champions League semi-finals.
Manchester United have reached full agreement with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong, after further talks. Package worth €85m. Fee guaranteed around €75m plus add-ons. 🚨🇳🇱 #MUFC
Personal terms, still the issue to be resolved - as Frenkie’s priority is to stay at Barcelona. pic.twitter.com/aTYnV3cHkP
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 14, 2022
De Jong has evidently been the centrepiece of United's summer transfer dealings, given the absence otherwise of high-profile arrivals at the club. Their persistence in holding out for de Jong may be about to bite them back, though. De Jong is said to be uninterested in signing for a club that will not be playing in the Champions League next season, making Chelsea a far more viable option - an option that now seems likely, as the rebuild continues at Stamford Bridge.
After the ignominious departure of Roman Abramovich as Chelsea owner early this year, new director Todd Boehly is eager to make new signings to strengthen the 2021 Champions League winners. Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta had been linked with Barcelona in recent weeks but has surprisingly made the decision to stay with Chelsea instead.
Their biggest signing thus far has been the acquisition of Manchester City man and four time Premier League winner Raheem Sterling, while Kalidou Koulibaly, Carney Chukwuemeka, and Marc Cucurella have all joined Sterling in moving to West London.
Frenkie de Jong to Chelsea certainly seemed unlikely when a fee was agreed with Manchester United. If reports are to be believed, it now seems as though the Blues are going to swoop under the noses of their Premier League rivals to seal one of the biggest Premier League transfers of the summer.