John Murtough and Richard Arnold pictured in Barcelona as Manchester United chiefs set strict deadline to complete Frenkie de Jong transfer

    Manchester United chiefs have been pictured in Barcelona, where talkSPORT understands they given the Spanish giants an ultimatum over the Frenkie de Jong transfer saga.

    Red Devils CEO Richard Arnold and director of football John Murtough spent Monday in the Catalan city in an attempt to force through a deal for the Dutch midfielder.

    United are growing impatient in their hunt for De Jong


    United are growing impatient in their hunt for De Jong

    It is believed their conversations with Barca are centred around the £17million De Jong is owed in unpaid wages due to the Spanish club’s ongoing financial struggles.

    Progress on the deal has been delayed by the wage deferral De Jong agreed to at Barcelona during the COVID pandemic in 2020.

    The 13-time Premier League winners have already verbally agreed to pay a transfer fee worth £56m plus add-ons for the 25-year-old.

    But Arnold and Murtough have now given Barcelona a strict deadline, instructing the Nou Camp outfit they want to conclude the signing of De Jong by Friday.

    Former Ajax star De Jong has been a target of the Red Devils’ for some time now, with the 25-year-old being a priority for new boss Erik ten Hag.

    Contact has been going on between the Premier League and LaLiga clubs since mid-May, but little progress has been made.

    Man United boss Erik ten Hag is keen to improve their midfield following the exit of the likes of Paul Pogba and Juan Mata


    Man United boss Erik ten Hag is keen to improve their midfield following the exit of the likes of Paul Pogba and Juan Mata

    Barca were initially keen to sell and get De Jong off their books amid their financial difficulties but club president, Joan Laporta, has then made public statements that they had no intention to sell.

    talkSPORT reporter Alex Crook had his say on the ongoing pursuit on Monday, and said: “I think they should probably walk away sooner, to be honest.

    “Bearing in mind the first contact between Manchester United and Barcelona was the middle of May – we are almost in the middle of July.

    “This is a ridiculous situation. It has been a saga for too long. Either it’s going to happen or it’s not.”

    They now have until the end of this week to get a deal done.

    So far the Red Devils have only brought in left-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord for £13m, with the new Premier League season less than a month away. They have let go of 13 players this summer.

    De Jong played under Ten Hag at Ajax


    De Jong played under Ten Hag at Ajax

    When asked about the situation, Ten Hag said: “I never talk about players who are not under contract of Man United, players from different clubs, so I cannot tell anything about this issue.”

    talkSPORT also understands that should Man United fail to get the De Jong deal done, they have a back-up list, which includes Wolves star Ruben Neves and Leicester man Youri Tielemans.

    Tielemans has been a target for Premier League rivals Arsenal and could be available for between £30-35m due to the Belgian being in the final year of his contract.

    Neves has been on United’s radar for some time and the Wolves man could be available for around £50m.

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