The truth behind Man Utd and Chelsea's Frenkie de Jong pursuit, why it was impossible for Liverpool to keep Sadio Mane, and more

Exclusive insight into the Frenkie de Jong saga, Sadio Mane's desire to join Bayern Munich, Arsenal's transfer strategy, and more.

4

What really went on with Manchester United, Chelsea, and Frenkie de Jong?

It’s no secret - Frenkie de Jong was a top priority for Manchester United. They really wanted him, and in the first week of July there was an agreement between Barcelona and Manchester United - €75m plus €10m in add-ons.

Many of you have asked me: why did United insist on this deal when the player did not want to come? The truth, from what I told, is that De Jong never wanted to leave Barcelona, not even for one second. It is true that Barca tried to find a solution, and Frenkie knows this, he’s a smart guy, but he’s Dutch and we know there is a special connection with Dutch players and Barcelona - he wants to be one of the Dutch players to win things with Barcelona. He joined the club at a difficult time, but now it’s completely different, they have a strong team and he feels he can win things with the club.

As well as that, he’s happy with life in Barcelona, his girlfriend is happy there. He made it clear he wanted to stay. United were just hoping that Frenkie would change his mind. Sometimes to sign top players you need to be patient, to wait and see if Frenkie was going to change his mind. But it never happened, and this is why they decided to invest big money on Casemiro.

Bayern Munich never negotiated with De Jong, there were also links with Man City back in June, but it was never part of their plan. They love the player, but he has a big salary, and for this summer they wanted to invest a big salary in Erling Haaland.

There is also Chelsea: at the end of July, beginning of August, Chelsea entered the race for De Jong very strongly. Chelsea were absolutely in the race, they wanted De Jong. They were prepared to pay big money to Barcelona, and also to pay a big contract to the player. Again, he told them he wanted to stay at Barcelona.

As for the future, so far the situation is totally quiet. Frenkie wanted to stay at Barca and therefore there are no immediate updates. Certainly Man United and Chelsea will monitor the situation but they know that De Jong only wanted Barca with great clarity all summer. It will take months before we understand the next developments.

Liverpool miss Sadio Mane, but it was impossible to keep him

I’ve seen some pundits talking about Liverpool missing Sadio Mane so far this season, and it’s no surprise because he is a top player, but from what I understand it would have been difficult for Liverpool to keep him.

If you ask me, I don't think selling Mane was a mistake, because when a player wants to leave, there is no point in keeping him at the club. Mane asked repeatedly and with conviction to try a new experience, so Liverpool in my opinion have done well to accept and it will take time to start a new era without a star like Sadio.

Changing his mind was impossible, after the final in Paris, Mane was clear with the club: he only wanted to join Bayern Munich.

Watch with a 7-day free trial

Subscribe to Fabrizio Romano's Daily Briefing to watch this video and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.