Frenkie de Jong shirt number clue as Man Utd and Chelsea battle for Barcelona star

De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links in June

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A clue has emerged suggesting Frenkie de Jong could still have a future at Barcelona. The Netherlands international is attracting interest from Manchester United and Chelsea as the close of the summer transfer window edges closer. However, his priority remains to stay at the Nou Camp – having been at the club since arriving from Ajax in 2019.

Manchester United have been frontrunners for De Jong for most of the summer, with Erik ten Hag hellbent on securing a reunion with his former Ajax midfielder.

But Chelsea have also emerged as potential suitors for the 25-year-old as they look to close the gap on the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool.

There is, however, still the possibility that De Jong stays at Barcelona.

La Liga’s website shows there’s been some movement on shirt numbers amid all the uncertainty as the start of the new Spanish football season creeps closer.

Robert Lewandowski has been allocated the No 9 jersey previously worn by Memphis Depay, who has been deemed surplus to requirements.

Depay, who has also been linked with a move to the Premier League this summer, is seemingly yet to be given new digits over at the Nou Camp.

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The website has also leaked Ferran Torres’ new jersey, with the Spain international set to wear the No 11 shirt left vacant following the end of Adama Traore’s loan.

But De Jong is still registered as the club’s No 21.

And that suggests there’s still every chance he’ll stay at Barcelona, though he’d have to accept a pay cut in order for that to happen.

What’s interesting is that other players Barcelona want to offload, like Memphis, don’t appear to have had numbers assigned to their name.

Martin Braithwaite is one player they’re ready to jettison and the Denmark international isn’t in their plans for the upcoming season.

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Likewise Miralem Pjanic, despite some suggestions the Bosnia international could be given another chance having impressed Xavi in pre-season.

The website also reveals Oscar Mingueza and Samuel Umtiti, both players on the market, are also without digits at the current moment in time.

So that De Jong’s number is still next to his name has added yet another fresh twist to this ongoing saga.

United remain confident they’ll be able to acquire the Netherlands international this summer, having been emboldened by Ten Hag’s good relationship with the player.

But Chelsea feel their ability to offer De Jong the chance to play in the Champions League could swing the transfer pendulum their way.

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And how the saga ends is something only time will tell.

Meanwhile, speaking recently, former Tottenham star Jamie O’Hara labelled United’s pursuit of De Jong as ‘embarrassing’ and urged them to move on to alternatives.

Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Ruden Neves and Youri Tielemans have all been linked in the event their pursuit of their top target fails.

And O’Hara told Sky Sports News: “Move on, move on. It’s been a joke. It’s almost embarrassing now that they’re still trying to pursue it.

“If it hasn’t happened now, it’s not going to happen. This is Manchester United we’re talking about, one of the biggest clubs in the world.

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“I know they don’t have the biggest pull anymore because of the way the club’s gone.

“But if the player’s still turning around saying ‘I don’t want to leave, I want to stay at Barcelona’, they’re messing around trying to sort the wages that he’s owed, just move on from him.

“There’s plenty of other top-class players out there that you can sign and you don’t want a player ending up coming to the football club almost against his will, in a way. That doesn’t sit right with me.”

And he added: “If Manchester United phoned me when I was in my prime, and a lot of players would say the same, you’re on the plane, next day ‘I’m going to Manchester United’.

“Now, if a player’s saying ‘no I don’t want to go’, then alright see you later then, we’ll get someone else.”

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