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Manchester United have responded after Barcelona chief Joan Laporta said he wants Frenkie de Jong to stay, according to reports. The Netherlands international’s future at the Nou Camp remains up in the air amid strong interest from Erik ten Hag. But there’s still no guarantee he’ll move to Old Trafford within the next month.
Manchester United have spent nearly three months chasing De Jong.
During that time they’ve been able to agree on a fee for the Barcelona star, which is believed to be worth an initial £63million that will rise to £72m with various add-ons.
Recently, however, Laporta said he wanted De Jong to stay.
Yet the Manchester Evening News say United have responded by dismissing his comments as a ‘face-saving rhetoric’.
Laporta said earlier this week: “In football, you never know. I can’t say categorically.
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“It all depends on the different parties. But in principle, I can say there is a strong possibility he stays, and I can say as president I will do my best for him to stay at Barcelona.
“The first thing to say is we want Frenkie to stay at Barcelona. We love the player and him as a human being.
“I want him to stay at Barcelona. He’s a high-quality player and a good guy. I also know that he wants to stay.”
And he added: “All we are doing with Frenkie is the same as the rest of the squad.
“The signings coming in have adjusted their salary to the new structure. But Frenkie has a contract and we respect that. We can’t force him to take a pay cut. It’s his decision.
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“We are trying to manage the football club in a prudent and sustainable way. So we have to have these talks and we do so in a calm and considered way.
“We have explained the situation and are grateful to any players who can help us. It was the same with Dembele and I am very grateful to him. And after months of talks, he accepted a renegotiation of his salary and he can be proud of his decision.
“[If De Jong doesn’t take a pay cut] then he will continue. He has a contract.
“We will respect that decision. For us, he’s a Barcelona player. We count on him.”
United believe nobody compares to De Jong.
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And that’s why they’re not looking at alternatives, despite links to the likes of Ruben Neves, Youri Tielemans and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
If United are able to sign De Jong, he’ll become their 10th signing from La Liga over the years.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, the Red Devils brought in the likes of Jordi Cruyff, Quinton Fortune, Ricardo, Gerard Pique and David De Gea.
Louis van Gaal landed Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria and Victor Valdes from Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
Jose Mourinho raided Villarreal for Eric Bailly upon taking the United job back in the summer of 2016.
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And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed Raphael Varane 12 months ago, choosing the France international over Pau Torres – who had also been under consideration at the time.
De Jong will also become the club’s latest Dutch player, too.
Jaap Stam, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Edwin van der Sar and Robin van Persie were all hits under Ferguson.
Daley Blind, Alexander Buttner and Memphis Depay claimed silverware at Old Trafford.
And Donny van de Beek moved from Ajax two years ago, though is yet to live up to expectations at the club.
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