Ronald Koeman lets slip Frenkie’s de Jong private feelings on Man Utd transfer
Frenkie de Jong’s transfer to Manchester United is edging closer but his ex-manager for Barcelona and the Netherlands, Ronald Koeman, has revealed his true feelings on the £68m move to Old Trafford
Ronald Koeman has let slip that Frenkie de Jong wants to stay at Barcelona, despite his transfer to Manchester United edging closer.
The 25-year-old is finally heading towards Old Trafford after the Red Devils ramped up negotiations with Camp Nou chiefs over the weekend. In a concerning development, however, Koeman has revealed that De Jong told him his true feelings on the move in a private chat only “a couple of days ago.”
Having coached the midfielder for Barcelona until last October, and previously with the Netherlands national team for two years, Koeman spoke to Catalan radio station Esport 3 on Monday and shed light on what his former star admitted to him when discussing the potential deal worth an initial £56.1 million, according to Sky Sports. “The only thing I know is that Frenkie wants to continue at Barca,” the ex-Holland manager declared.
“A couple of days ago he told me he wanted to continue. What I don’t know is if Barca wants to sell him or needs money because he is one of the few players for whom they can get a good amount. For me, De Jong is a great player for Barca.”
Although often deployed as a centre-back during Koeman’s ill-fated spell as Barcelona boss, De Jong was a mainstay as the Blaugrana won the Copa del Rey in the Dutch tactician’s only full season. Having featured prominently under new manager Xavi Hernandez last term, the reason why Barcelona hope to flog the playmaker is to help balance the books and remedy their perilous financial predicament.
De Jong himself has even stated that his first choice is to remain with his “dream club” in Catalunya, telling ESPN during the international break: “What I’m saying, there is absolutely nothing of an agreement or anything official. At the moment there is no question of it at all – not that I know of in any case. Or they must not have told me, but I don’t think so.”
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The ex- Ajax prodigy affirmed: “I prefer to stay with Barcelona. Barcelona is just my dream club. Also from a young age, I just said it, too. I’ve never regretted my choice despite the fact that I had hoped for more in terms of prizes than I’ve achieved so far. But I have never regretted my choice.”
United are keen to wrap up a deal for De Jong before June 30, allowing him to link up with new boss Erik ten Hag ‘s squad in time for their pre-season tour next month which will span three countries. Ten Hag hopes to install his style of play into the team throughout July and be ready for their Premier League curtain-raiser at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, August 7.