Richard Arnold Awaiting De Jong Deal Leads In First United Transfer Window

Richard Arnold Awaiting De Jong Deal Leads In First United Transfer Window

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‘Tis that part of the season again. Not post-season or pre-season, or the festive work during Boxing Day and beyond. Nor do the cold days of spring, when the title race heats up. No, it’s Manchester United’s summer transfer market season, when national football’s favorite soap opera is the headline of the silly season and many players are linked, targeted, lost, found, sold, signed and… unsigned.

The latter is already shaping the narrative of some of Richard Arnold’s great 2022, Who Will United Land? Show. This is the 52-year-old’s first window as the club’s chief executive, and to hear and read the hysteria from pundits and fans alike, he needs to acquire Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi and the next Diego Maradona or his tenure will break and burn first. of takeoff.

Related: Manchester United CEO Richard Arnold meets disgruntled fans at a local pub

There is, however, real pressure to have a window of success. Starting with Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong, then a forward – Antony, possibly, from Ajax – and perhaps a centre-back after Jurrien Timber turned down the chance to join Erik ten Haag in moving from Amsterdam to Manchester, the The 21-year-old’s decision based on his desire to ensure he retains his place in the Netherlands national team with a World Cup looming.

Across town, Manchester City secured Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, and a little further afield, Liverpool recruited Darwin Núñez from Benfica (not to mention Fabio Carvalho from Fulham and Calvin Ramsay from Aberdeen). Ten Haag wanted Núñez, too, and with Haaland being the emerging star of world football, United fans see the Premier League’s prominent forces and its two fiercest rivals already going strong while their club is blank.

Another rejection came from another Ten Haag target in Christian Eriksen, with the Dane preferring to remain at Brentford or return to Tottenham. The only transfer action that has taken place at United so far this summer has been a string of departures: Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani all left without a fee.

It’s still early days for a transfer window that doesn’t officially open until July 1, with the squad meeting for the first time next month, when Ten Haag will speak to his players as a group for the first time. So, understandably, Arnold and his director of football, John Murtough, remain calm.

Frenkie de Jong of Barcelona on the ball.

Frenkie de Jong is Manchester United’s main transfer target and they are confident of getting the Dutch midfielder from Barcelona. Photography: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Their position is that while De Jong is Ten Haag’s main target, there is no need to panic because Barcelona are in a precarious financial situation and therefore need to sell, and there seem to be no competitors for the midfielder. Dutch camper, and certainly not from clubs with the financial resources for gazump United. So Arnold and Murtough will not be hasty in their search for the player and are preparing a second offer of around €70m plus add-ons for him, having seen a €60m plus bonus offer turned down by Barcelona.

The ideal outcome is that De Jong’s signing is sealed before United fly to Thailand for their pre-season tour on July 8. Ten Haag wants the 25-year-old for what would be his first game in charge, against Liverpool in Bangkok, four days after United arrived in the Far East. If that cannot be achieved, the plan is to ensure De Jong is a United player ahead of the opening game of the new Premier League season against Brighton at Old Trafford on 7 August, something Arnold and Murtough believe is possible. .

The mood emanating from United is optimistic about De Jong’s arrival, firmly believing it’s a case of when not to. But if De Jong isn’t on the plane to Bangkok, the specter of the ridiculous summer of 2013 will inevitably be raised. This saw Arnold’s predecessor Ed Woodward leaving United’s tour of Australia to “fulfill urgent transfer business”.

Related: Manchester United confident Barcelona will cut Frenkie de Jong price

When Woodward flew back to Europe that Wednesday in July nine years ago, he and the club’s newly-signed manager David Moyes identified Cesc Fàbregas, then from Barcelona, ​​as The signing to kick off the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, but the Spaniard never arrived. In fact, the only player United signed that summer was Everton’s Marouane Fellaini, and even that was completed after the deadline and almost went wrong.

This is the kind of apocalyptic scenario that Arnold, Murtough and Ten Haag are desperate to avoid. It is still highly unlikely that this will be repeated in this case given United’s strong hand in negotiations with a club that not only desperately needs the funds from the player’s sale, but also needs his £290,000-a-week salary.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal and Arnold and Murtough must make sure they don’t make the same mistake Woodward made in 2013. Back then United ended up paying £4m more than they should have for Fellaini, who had a buyout of £23.5m clause United could have activated had they acted sooner. Moyes was well aware of the clause, as he was the Everton manager who had inserted it into the Belgian midfielder’s contract.

Arnold’s clandestinely filmed encounter with disgruntled fans at an inn near his Cheshire home over the weekend provided a frank admission of the farrago that has been United’s recent history. In delivering a concise assessment – ​​“We’ve burned the fuck out of money” – United’s most powerful executive has indicated that he is attuned to what it takes to revive a club that is more fallen than sleeping giant at this point. But, as always, actions will tell. For you, Mr. Arnold.

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