Chelsea are confident Frenkie de Jong will choose them this summer and are willing to ‘wait’ for him.
De Jong’s preference is still to remain with Barcelona but both Chelsea and Manchester United continue to circle the midfielder.
United agreed a £71m fee with Barcelona for De Jong weeks ago but the Dutch international has dug his heels in at the Nou Camp.
He doesn’t want to leave and is also said to be unwilling to take the paycut that’s been proposed.
The Athletic claim United’s interest in De Jong is ‘undiminished’ and they are not ‘closing the door’ on the prospect of him joining from Barcelona.
However, his arrival in Manchester is looking ‘increasingly improbable’.
That may be because of Chelsea’s interest, with the west London club a more likely landing spot given they can offer De Jong Champions League football.
Tha certainly appears to be owner Todd Boehly’s view, with Sport (via Sport Witness) claiming Chelsea haven’t withdrawn as they ‘know’ that De Jong would be ‘more predisposed’ to joining them over United.
They are willing to ‘wait’ before ‘playing this trick at the right time’ to sign the player.
It’s not entirely clear what this ‘trick’ is, though we assume it’s the magic of Champions League football, which the report then goes on to explain would have a ‘decisive influence’ when looking to complete the deal.
United also look set to miss out on Adrien Rabiot.
It is believed that Rabiot’s agent and mother asked United to pay the 27-year-old ‘in excess’ of the €7million yearly salary he earns with Juventus.
According to The Athletic, United were ‘prepared’ to make Rabiot one of their highest earners, alongside the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen.
However, his mother, Veronique, asked for more money, but the Red Devils were ‘unwilling’ to meet her demands.
Rabiot is out of contract in less than 12 months and could command a tremendous amount of money should he become a free agent.
United boss Erik ten Hag is now said to be eyeing up alternatives, including Real Madrid’s combative midfielder Casemiro.
Another potential alternative is Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, who United had the opportunity to sign for around £5m 18 months ago.
The United hierarchy are now ‘in the final stages of deciding where their budget will be best spent’ before the transfer window closes on August 31.
Despite their disappointing summer business, the club are ‘confident’ they can sign an ‘elite’ central midfielder in the next two weeks.