star Frenkie de Jong initially gave Erik ten Hag a ‘negative’ response when he called the Dutchman to convince him to join .
The Netherlands international is a priority target for Ten Hag, who wants to strengthen his midfield as and are set to depart.
De Jong, 25, worked under Ten Hag for 18 months at Ajax and the pair remain close.
Ten Hag has been given around £120m to spend by United’s board this summer, though he can top up that budget through player sales.
He wants to spend around £70m of that budget on acquiring De Jong but, though Barcelona are happy to sanction his departure, the midfielder appears less keen.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Ten Hag recently called De Jong to convince him to move to the Theatre of Dreams but his first response was a ‘negative’ one.
De Jong is happy in Spain and feels he has earned the trust of Xavi, who was his idol when he was growing up and he wants to remain in the Champions League.
However, Barcelona must balance the books given their financial problems and the board are willing to override Xavi’s wishes by sanctioning De Jong’s departure.
That’s left De Jong with a realistic view of his future and it’s claimed his view on joining United has softened in recent weeks.
De Jong appreciates the effort that Ten Hag has gone to towards convincing him to join the club and if he has to leave Barcelona, he’s keen on playing under the Dutchman again.
However, his first preference remains to stay at Barcelona.
, ., and .