Frenkie de Jong has emerged as key transfer target for Manchester United
Frenkie de Jong has emerged as key transfer target for Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

Barcelona manager Xavi has described Frenkie de Jong as ‘fundamental’ to his plans but concedes economic factors could determine the Manchester United transfer target’s future.

After initially struggling to adapt following his £67million move from Ajax in the summer of 2019, the 25-year-old has played an increasingly prominent role since Xavi’s appointment earlier this season.

De Jong is said to keen on remaining at Barcelona, the perilous financial position of the Catalan giants could force them to sell one of their prize assets and are reportedly willing to listen to offers for the Netherlands international and would accept a fee in the region of the sum they paid to sign him three years ago.

Frenki de Jong worked with Erik ten Hag at Ajax
Frenki de Jong worked with Erik ten Hag at Ajax (Picture: Getty)

Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s game against Getafe, Xavi was asked about De Jong’s future and gave a clear indication that the matter might be taken out of his hands.

He said: ‘I have said many times that Frenkie de Jong is very important. He has almost always been a starter under me and for me he is fundamental.

‘Then there is also the financial situation of the club and it will have to be decided. I’m not talking about Frenkie, but in general

‘In a few days we have to know what economic situation we are in to start planning.

‘See who we can count on and see on who we cannot count, the economic level marks it for us.’

Manchester United view Frenkie de Jong as the ideal replacement for Paul Pogba
Manchester United view Frenkie de Jong as the ideal replacement for Paul Pogba (Picture: Getty)

New United manager Erik ten Hag has identified strengthening his midfield as one of his key proirities, particularly given the impending departures of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata.

De Jong, who worked under the 52-year-old during their time together at Ajax, is capable of operating in a number of different positions and his versatility would represent a huge asset to United, according to Rio Ferdinand.

‘A top player. I watched him really closely in {Ajax’s] Champions League semi-final team,’ Ferdinand told the FIVE YouTube channel.

‘As a team who are looking for players who can control the ball and the game and get the team functioning in terms of balanced possession, I think he would be a good addition to the team. He’s not someone who scores loads of goals, but he is more in terms of the controlling of the game.

‘I think he will be a fantastic signing if this deal goes ahead. [From] Ajax to Barcelona the fee was around £77million and they’re talking between £60-70m, so in today’s market it would be a very good signing.

‘He thrived under Ten Hag’s management. He was the outstanding player in that [Ajax] team.’

MORE : Erik ten Hag could attend Manchester United’s final Premier League match at Selhurst Park

MORE : Frenkie De Jong set to reject Manchester United due to lack of Champions League football

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