Man Utd ‘ready to accept defeat in transfer pursuit of Barcelona’s De Jong’ with boss Ten Hag missing out on No1 target

    MANCHESTER UNITED are ready to accept defeat in their pursuit of Frenkie de Jong, according to reports.

    The Red Devils have spent the best part of three months trying to sign the former Ajax midfielder from Barcelona.

    Frenkie de Jong's future has been the subject of intense speculation

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    Frenkie de Jong’s future has been the subject of intense speculationCredit: Rex

    Boss Erik ten Hag made De Jong his No1 target this summer, and at one point even thought it “unnecessary” to consider alternatives.

    But according to the Mail, United have begun to accept that they will not be able to sign the Dutch ace.

    Ten Hag and Co agreed a £72million deal with Barca for De Jong last month, but the move fell down for a number of reasons.

    The 25-year-old is unwilling to leave Barcelona until he is paid £17m in deferred wages that he is owed.

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    While he also isn’t keen to play in Manchester without Champions League football.

    United have now moved on to other targets and are chasing a deal for Juventus ace Adrien Rabiot.

    Club chiefs have agreed a £15m fee with Juve for the French midfielder, although will now have to negotiate wages with his mum and agent Veronique.

    Rabiot, 27, is reportedly after more than £160,000 a week to move to Old Trafford – where he believes the midfield is “weak”.

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    As for De Jong, Chelsea have emerged as a more realistic landing spot.

    The midfield ace would be able to play Champions League football with the Blues, although will still need to settle his issues with Barca first.

    De Jong was verbally abused by fans as he arrived at training this week, with reports from Spain suggesting they shouted: “Lower your salary b****.”

    Barca have been unable to register their signings with LaLiga ahead of Saturday’s opener against Rayo Vallecano and will not be able to until they raise sufficient funds.

    Should they fail to register them, free transfers Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen could walk for nothing.

    Barca want De Jong to stay, but only if he accepts a big pay cut and just £6m of the £17m in deferred wages he is owed.

    The club claimed that his contract signed with the previous regime could even be legally invalid – sparking fury from the Dutch players’ union – who claimed that De Jong may be the target of extortion.

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    Chelsea are also interested in signing De Jong’s Barca team-mate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

    The former Arsenal striker played under boss Thomas Tuchel and Borussia Dortmund, and scored 13 goals in 23 games after quitting the Gunners for Barcelona.

    Chelsea are interested in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

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    Chelsea are interested in Pierre-Emerick AubameyangCredit: Rex

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