New ‘main focus’ for Man Utd in transfer market sees De Jong chances ‘recede’

Joe Williams
Man Utd target Frenkie de Jong winks

The chances of Frenkie de Jong arriving at Man Utd this summer are shrinking with the Red Devils now pursuing a deal for Casemiro, according to reports.

Man Utd agreed an €85m fee for De Jong over a month ago with Barcelona – but his personal issues with the Catalan giants have seen the transfer falter.

The Netherlands international is owed £17m in deferred wages and bonuses from during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, while there has been speculation that he prefers a move to Chelsea over United anyway.

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Last week it looked likely that Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot would be moving to Old Trafford but the midfielder’s agent and mother, Veronique, was reportedly demanding too much in wages.

And now widespread reports insist that Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro is the new target for Man Utd with The Athletic journalist David Ornstein claiming he is now their ‘main focus’ before the transfer window shuts.

Ornstein understands that ‘a deal between the two clubs is progressing’ and the Brazilian has ‘given positive indications of his desire to join’ Man Utd.

He warns that ‘no agreement has been reached’ between the Premier League side and Real Madrid but that ‘talks are advancing and United would be unlikely to dedicate so much time to the move if they did not think it was achievable.’

Casemiro, who has won five Champions League titles at Real Madrid, sees a move to Old Trafford as a ‘huge professional challenge’ to see if he can compete in the Premier League.

Reports that the Brazil international will double his wages at Man Utd are ‘wide of the mark’ but the Red Devils have made ‘a competitive offer, including significant performance-related incentives, which would put him among their top earners’.

It is ‘improbable’ that De Jong, who Man Utd have failed to agree personal terms with, will sign for Man Utd as well as Casemiro and their chances of signing the Dutchman ‘have receded’.

Their desperation in the transfer market has increased after Man Utd were embarrassed 4-0 against Brentord on Saturday, with Erik ten Hag failing to get a point on the board from his first two Premier League matches in charge.

Reacting to the defeat, Ten Hag said: “For one, Brentford were more hungry, and two, we conceded goals with individual mistakes.

“You can have a good plan, but then you put the plan in the bin.

“I think it’s nothing to do with tactics. The first two goals are about dealing with the ball and decisions.

“I think they follow my instructions but they make bad decisions. This is football, it’s a game of mistakes and we got punished.

“When the results are like this I can imagine (how the fans) are feeling. It’s no good that we show that clearly, and we have to change that. We need more hunger on the pitch as a team and individuals.”