Manchester United need to resolve their Frenkie de Jong transfer saga to avoid further embarrassment, according to Gabby Agbonlahor.
The Red Devils have played out one of the summer transfer window’s longest-running dramas so far. New manager Erik ten Hag wants to reunite with De Jong following the pair’s standout spell together at Ajax.
But a deal is proving difficult on all sides. Barcelona, who confirmed a big-money deal for Leeds United winger Raphinha on Wednesday, view De Jong as one of their most saleable assets.
None, the fee has proved a sticking point, although Man United and Barcelona have allegedly agreed on an upfront €65million (£54.8million).
But there is also De Jong’s view in proceedings. The 25-year-old Netherlands international has consistently maintained that he wants to stay at Barcelona and has reiterated that viewpoint in fresh transfer discussions.
According to former Aston Villa star Agbonlahor, United need to either give De Jong an ultimatum or move on altogether.
“It’s going to come to the stage where Man Utd need to have some self-respect,” the pundit told Football Insider.
“A club of Man United’s stature, how have they fallen where De Jong has said ‘Let me keep you on hold and make my mind up in a couple of months’.
“That isn’t how Man United are used to being treated, usually it’s ‘I’ll sign for Man United, let’s get it done’.
“It’s a bit embarrassing for them the longer it goes on, to be honest.
“Maybe they’ve got to give him an ultimatum and say ‘There is this date. You either sign or we are moving on to other players’.”
De Jong has four years left on his contract and so the ball is in Barcelona’s court over his future.
De Jong situation mirrors Man Utd struggles
United had no problems signing top talent when Sir Alex Ferguson was at the Old Trafford helm.
In recent transfer windows, though, they have struggled to secure their top targets.
Indeed, the current De Jong saga comes after United spent the summer 2020 transfer window chasing Jadon Sancho without success. They eventually got their man in 2021, but the 2020 saga did them no favours.
Why do Manchester United want Frenkie de Jong?
Why do Manchester United want Frenkie de Jong when the player seemingly doesn’t want a move to Old Trafford?
After initially accepting defeat over Sancho in 2020, Man Utd turned to free-agent striker Edinson Cavani.
Club chiefs will hope to avoid such a contingency plan in their midfield, which requires massive work after the exits of four players including Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard.