Manchester United have reportedly turned down a transfer proposal from Barcelona which would have seen Harry Maguire used as part of a deal for Frenkie de Jong.
The Red Devils have been locked in negotiations with Xavi’s side over a deal for De Jong for several weeks, with Erik ten Hag identifying the 25-year-old as his leading summer target.
De Jong and Ten Hag enjoyed a successful stint at Ajax before the former’s £77.4m to Camp Nou in 2019, and he remains under contract in Catalonia for another four years.
Barcelona are therefore said to be holding out for a £73m fee to sanction the midfielder’s sale this summer, and Man United are still falling short of the Blaugrana’s asking price.
In an effort to help Man United drive the price down, Barcelona were allegedly interested in bringing Maguire to the club for the 2022-23 season.
However, The Sun claims that Man United rejected that proposal, as Ten Hag is keen to have the centre-back in his ranks for his first season in charge at Old Trafford.
Maguire donned the captain’s armband under Ralf Rangnick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season but was widely criticised following a string of error-strewn performances.
The 29-year-old could be stripped of the captaincy by Ten Hag ahead of the new campaign, but he will be given the chance to prove himself as the Red Devils aim to bolster their defence.
Meanwhile, the report adds that Man United and Barcelona have made progress in discussions for De Jong, and there is growing optimism that a deal can be struck.
Ten Hag is supposedly keen to wrap up a deal for De Jong in time for Man United’s pre-season tour, with the Red Devils set to travel to Thailand and Australia next month.
The Netherlands international has scored 13 goals and set up 17 more in 139 games for Barcelona since 2019 but has only won one Copa del Rey with the Catalan giants so far.
De Jong ended the 2021-22 season having amassed four goals and five assists in 46 outings across all competitions, and Barca are expected to wrap up the signing of Franck Kessie ahead of the Dutchman’s potential exit.
Man United are yet to make a senior signing in the summer transfer window but have seen no fewer than six players leave the club, with Lee Grant retiring and Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Edinson Cavani departing as free agents.
Second-choice goalkeeper Dean Henderson is also on the verge of sealing a loan move to Nottingham Forest, and Ten Hag will likely pursue a striker and centre-back in the coming weeks.
The Red Devils are still thought to be in the running to sign Christian Eriksen, who is weighing up his options as he runs down the final few days of his existing Brentford contract.