Chelsea are monitoring the situation of Frenkie de Jong, and “could” make a move should his proposed move to Manchester United break down, as per a report from the Guardian.
United have had a €65m offer accepted by Barcelona, with manager Erik ten Hag keen to reunite with his former player at Ajax Amsterdam, but De Jong’s apparently more keen on playing in the Champions League, which the Red Devils cannot offer at the moment. They have thus far failed to agree personal terms with the 25-year-old, leading to suggestions that the move could collapse since he’s in “no rush” to leave Barca.
But the Blaugrana could certainly use a €65m windfall, which is where Chelsea enter the picture, either to motivate and push a deal through or perhaps jump in ourselves and gazump the deal, Pedro-style. The report adds that Chelsea “watched De Jong closely” at Ajax and Thomas Tuchel “admires” him as well. Considering that De Jong had been consistently rated as one of the best young midfielders in the world, that shouldn’t be too surprising on either count.
Since leaving Ajax in 2019, De Jong has been a key player at Barca, averaging nearly 50 appearances per season. His versatility has seen him play just about every position in midfield and defense, but he’s best utilized as a playmaking midfielder in a double-pivot — a possibly ideal fit for Tuchel’s current system.
Chelsea’s interest in De Jong, if real, is hopefully a sign that we are aware of the impending midfield overhaul that will soon be needed, with both Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté on the wrong side of 30 and with just a year left on their contracts, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek limited to squad rotation duties and possibly available for a transfer. While we do have the likes of Conor Gallagher and Billy Gilmour looking for first-team opportunities, there might be several spots open and up for grabs soon.