Manchester United fly to Thailand today, to begin their summer preseason tour, and they’ll do so without their best player, Cristiano Ronaldo, and their top transfer target this summer, Frenkie de Jong. Yes, it’s time for another edition of Manchester United transfer talk, and we’re warning you right now, it’s one that looks pretty bleak.
Let’s start with Ronaldo, who is looking for an exit from the club, and won’t be on that flight. He’s missed all of training camp thus far and he’ll miss the Thailand portion of the tour. Additionally, there is also strong doubt about his potential inclusion for the Australian leg of the tour.
As of now there is no timeframe for Ronaldo to rejoin the squad, amid reported interest from Chelsea, Napoli and Bayern Munich. On the surface level, it looks like Ronaldo is holding out, to get the transfer he wants, but the party line states that he’s dealing with supposed family issues.
A statement from United said: “Cristiano Ronaldo will not be in the party departing for Thailand as he has been granted additional time off to deal with a family issue.”
It sounds like he’s not going to see out the second and final year of his current deal. But let’s move from that bad news to another piece of bad news, another plot twist in the painfully protracted Frenkie de Jong transfer saga.
Bank on June 28, it was widely reported that United and Barcelona had agreed on an initial transfer fee of about €65m, but here we are, 10 days later and we’re no closer to actually getting it done.
We’ve also seen reports that Chelsea could be trying to hijack this deal, as the agent of De Jong is currently in London, although the reason he’s in the capital is to meet with United’s officials at their office there. The Dutch midfielder reportedly prefers moving to United over transferring to Chelsea, as he’s open to the idea of reuniting with manager Erik ten Hag.
Barcelona’s public stance is that De Jong is not for sale, but negotiations are still open.
The two sides still need to work out the sums/fees regarding the add-ons, among other things.
Also, according to ESPN:
“an issue around wages owed to the Dutchman after he agreed to take a pay cut to help the Spanish side through the COVID-19 pandemic on the understanding the money would be repaid over the remainder of his contract, which runs until 2026.”
Honestly, it really is long past “fish or cut bait” with this narrative. United have certainly had some utterly insanely tedious transfer sagas in recent years (David de Gea, Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire, Paul Pogba x 3, Arturo Vidal, just to name a few), and this one is getting just as brutal now.
At this point, let’s just get closure on it.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”Follow paulmbanks