Transfer gossip: Man Utd’s £180m targets open to Barca, Atletico exits; Chelsea eye Liverpool target

Ian Watson
Frenkie De Jong in action for Barcelona.

Frenkie De Jong is regretting his decision to stay at Barcelona while Joao Felix wants to leave Atletico Madrid as soon as possible. Also: Chelsea want three RB Leipzig players…


The Gossip has been a Frenkie-free zone for most of the last six weeks but here we are again speculating over Erik ten Hag’s most wanted…

Manchester United spent all summer pining for De Jong and they got as far as reaching an agreement with Barcelona. That, when it came, took too long and the Red Devils believe they paid for that dithering when the Holland midfielder stayed at the Nou Camp.

It didn’t help that Barca were acting up, refusing to pay De Jong his deferred wages before threatening to take legal action over the renewal they had previously given him. However, the player was obviously keen to stay in Catalonia, especially if the alternative was the north-west of England.

Things seem to have changed now. ‘De Jong, disgustado con su situacion en el Barca’ is the headline from Sport and you don’t have to be fluent in Spanish to get the gist.

De Jong is upset having become a bit-part player under Xavi. He has not started any big games so far this season and only four times has he been named in Barca’s XI in the Champions League and La Liga while Gavi, Pedri and Sergio Busquets ‘eat the minutes’.

Apparently, United are keeping a close eye on De Jong’s situation and Ten Hag has left the door open, despite signing Casemiro when it became clear he couldn’t land his primary target. Bayern Munich and Chelsea were also heavily linked with the former Ajax midfielder.


Joao Felix was also said to be a United target, with a bid in the region of £110million reportedly submitted, though their interest in the Portugal attacker came towards the end of the window when they were panicking like f***.

Like De Jong, Felix’s situation appears to have changed. Fichajes says the £113million star has become disillusioned with his role at Atletico Madrid and wants to leave the club in January.

The story goes that Felix sees little point in sticking around while Diego Simeone remains in charge, which seems likely to remain the case beyond the end of the current campaign. Simeone has angered the 22-year-old by relegating him to the bench in recent weeks. In midweek, when Atletico needed a goal against Club Brugge in the Champions League, Felix remained sat on the sidelines.

Obviously United are linked with the ex-Benfica starlet while Arsenal are also credited with an interest.


Chelsea seem keen to take a job lot of RB Leipzig players ahead of next season…

The Blues have been persistently linked with Josko Gvardiol, who is also a target for Spurs, while a deal to sign Christopher Nkunku could be wrapped up ahead of the World Cup, according to Bild.

It is also claimed that Thomas Boehly is keen to bring Konrad Laimer to Stamford Bridge. The Austria midfielder was a target for Bayern and Liverpool last summer but Leipzig stood firm. Laimer, however, will be a free-agent at the end of the season and Chelsea are making moves to sign him and his two team-mates.