Lord only knows what’s going to happen with Frenkie de Jong this summer, but what we do know is that this transfer saga has dragged out for far too long already. He’s currently on tour with his team, FC Barcelona, but we’ve seen multiple reports, at various times, indicating that the Catalan club reached an agreement with Manchester United on a transfer fee.
De Jong, who is still owed money from Barcelona in back pay, has been identified as the top target of United boss Erik ten Hag since May. But will still nothing actually done, and god only knows how close to being finalized, Old Trafford must make contingency plans.
That is happening, according to Sky Sports who claim in their paper talk column today: “Manchester United have identified Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as their alternative plan if Frenkie de Jong continues to reject the chance to move to Old Trafford.”
The story checks out, as Milinkovic-Slavic has been frequently linked to United in previous transfer windows, and he fits the bill of what the club needs right now. United need to get a holding/defensive/central midfielder above all else, whether that’s De Jong or someone else.
Some believe De Jong is still coming, and that the evidence of it is the extreme delay in the unveiling announcements of Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez.
The logic here is that the club are waiting for the De Jong deal to finalize first, and then announce/unveil Martinez, Eriksen and De Jong all that time. Maybe that’s the master plan after all? Or maybe this is all just a reach? That’s why they call the summer transfer window the “silly season.”
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.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.Follow paulmbanks