Chelsea begin chase for long-term Manchester United target

Chelsea look poised to make a move for Barcelona’s highest-paid player this summer, after Manchester United’s fruitless chase for the Dutchman.

Chelsea are reportedly confident of stealing Frenkie de Jong away from the clutches of Premier League rivals Manchester United after entering talks with Barcelona.

The Blues are willing to match United’s £71million fee which they already agreed with Barcelona and can also offer De Jong Champions League football, which is understood to be a priority for the Dutchman next season.

De Jong has also been a priority target for Manchester United this summer, with the 52-year-old Dutchman keen to reunite with his compatriot at Old Trafford.

However, it is understood that De Jong preferred a move to a side competing in the Champions League, ultimately landing a significant blow to his suitors in Red.

Thomas Tuchel’s side have now opened direct talks with the Barcelona and are optimistic of being able to agree a deal for the 25-year-old, according to a report from The Athletic.

Despite Chelsea’s interest, De Jong is still United’s top transfer target this summer, having chased the Dutchman for over three months.

United are willing to make the De Jong the club’s highest-paid player by matching his current £450,000-a-week salary at Barcelona with whom he is already the highest-earner.

The Red devils were also willing to pay the £17m De Jong is currently owed by Catalans in deferred wages, as reported by Sport.

De Jong has so far, turned down United’s advances amid reports that he is determined to remain in Barcelona beyond this summer.

Barcelona themselves are under huge pressure to sell the Dutchman if they dont want to incure the wrath of LaLiga’s FFP.

Barcelona need to register a whole host of their summer signings and De Jong’s exit would be a logical solution to the issue.

The Catalan giants have openly revealed their desire to make sales so as to enable them register new summer signings including Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, and Jules Kounde.

It is also believed that selling De Jong will also allow Barcelona to sign Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva.

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