MANCHESTER UNITED, Chelsea and Liverpool are reportedly set to battle it out for Frenkie de Jong’s signature in the January transfer window.
The Barcelona midfielder, 25, was linked with a move to both United and Chelsea in the summer.
The Red Devils agreed a fee of £72million including add-ons for the Dutchman back in July.
But backdated wage payments that Barcelona owed the player stalled the deal and ended up forcing it to collapse.
New Blues owner Todd Boehly then tried to hijack United’s target late on in the window, but that too was unsuccessful.
However, De Jong has been out of favour with Barca boss Xavi so far this season, starting just five games in all competitions.
And the Catalan giants are set to be eliminated from the Champions League before the knockout rounds after only one win from their opening four matches.
According to ESPN, the lack of game time and need to recoup some of the money lost by their imminent European exit could make De Jong deal an easier acquisition in January.
Chelsea remain light in midfield after N’Golo Kante underwent hamstring surgery this week, with the Frenchman expected to be out for four months.
Jorginho‘s future is also up in the air as he is out of contract at the end of the campaign.
It is understood Chelsea now have a good relationship with HCM Sports Management – who list De Jong as their client.
Meanwhile, United also remain interested in the former Ajax man – with Erik ten Hag having previously coached him at the Eredivisie side.
However, the Red Devils will struggle to do a deal in January given they spent more than £200m in the summer window.
And Liverpool could yet beat both of them to De Jong, with Jurgen Klopp thought to be still in the market for a midfielder.
The Reds brought Arthur Melo in on loan after injury problems, but he has barely featured due to struggles with injury.
De Jong recently spoke about the pressure he received from Barcelona chiefs during the summer as they tried to force him out of the Nou Camp.
Earlier this month, he told Ziggo Sport: “I was calm. I decided in May that I wanted to stay. My opinion has never changed during this entire period.
“I stayed calm. But then you know the pressure would start to come.
“Yes, from the newspapers, from the president, exactly. From everywhere actually. But I wanted to stay at Barca so it never baffled me.”
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