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Manchester United have been dealt a painful blow in their long-running pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong after his agents informed both clubs of his intentions this summer. United’s transfer plans have revolved around De Jong but could be set to walk away from a deal for Erik ten Hag’s priority target.

The Red Devils have pursued De Jong for over two months and are understood to have broadly agreed a £72million (€85m) deal with Barcelona for his services. However, a transfer has so far been stifled by £17m in deferred salary payments the La Liga giants owe him.

Throughout the saga, De Jong’s preference has been to remain at Barcelona while the club somewhat looked to force him out to raise funds to ease their current financial woes. The latest update in the saga follows the same trend and could be enough to prompt United to finally abandon their chase.

According to Fabrizio Romano, De Jong’s agents Ali Dursun and Hasan Cetinkaya have informed both Barcelona and United that their client has no intention to leave Camp Nou this summer. The 25-year-old Netherlands international also won’t accept any salary reduction or related talks, with the blockbuster transfer now stalling.

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Reports have indicated that if United couldn’t wrap up the signing of De Jong this week, they were prepared to focus on alternative targets. And that seems increasingly likely to be the outcome if Ten Hag has failed to convince his former Ajax star of his project at Old Trafford.

However, United’s presence in Barcelona earlier this week suggested they had received encouragement from both sides that a deal is still on.

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