The Red Devils have been linked with the Dutchman for a considerable length of time, but have found themselves frustrated in their efforts to lure him to Old Trafford, despite having reportedly agreed a financial package with his current employers last month.
Since then, however, Chelsea have entered the race to sign the 25-year-old, and amid mounting speculation surrounding a potential move to West London, it is understood that United are readying themselves to walk away from the saga.
The Mail report that Erik ten Hag is enduring ‘major frustration’ as a result of the ongoing pursuit, and has subsequently ‘resigned’ himself to missing out on the player.
But what exactly does that mean for De Jong’s future going forward?
What has De Jong said about his future?
The general consensus appears to be that De Jong would ideally prefer to stay at Barcelona this summer.
Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo report that the player ‘still does not want to leave’, with the new La Liga season fast approaching.
Indeed, it is also claimed that president Joan Laporta wants to keep him, but that technical staff at Camp Nou are fine with him leaving if a deal for Manchester City star Bernardo Silva can be sealed in the coming days.
In that instance, De Jong is said to have ‘admitted in the locker room’ that a transfer to Chelsea ‘motivates him more than United because he plays in the Champions League and is from a big city like London’.
Still, the lingering impression that he wants to remain in Spain is only furthered by comments that the player himself made upon his arrival from Ajax.
Speaking in 2019, he said: “I’m very excited about signing for Barca. I was very happy when I took the decision.
“I celebrated with my family, but not too much because we’re still halfway through the season with Ajax. But I’m very happy.
“I’ve always dreamed about playing for Barca since I was little. I like the players and the club. It’s the team of my dreams. I want to be an important player for Barcelona and win many trophies.”
What have pundits said about De Jong’s future?
TalkSPORT pundit Gabby Agbonlahor has delivered a blunt assessment on where De Jong’s future could lie - and why it almost certainly won’t be Old Trafford, in his opinion.
“I’ve been talking about Manchester United not being as much of a pull for a while now and their fans don’t like it. They can’t handle the straight facts,” he said.
“De Jong, if he’s leaving Barcelona, he does not want to go to Manchester United. There are quotes that have come out that he would rather Bayern Munich, he would rather Chelsea.
“Because if I’m choosing a team in the Premier League and I’ve got the chance of Chelsea or Manchester United, I’m choosing Chelsea.
“I’m in London, I’ve got Thomas Tuchel who’s won the Champions League recently, you’re playing Champions League football this season, you’ve got a better squad of players.
“Manchester United have got [Cristiano] Ronaldo who doesn’t want to be there, he’s not turned up for pre-season.
“You’ve got players that aren’t performing. You’ve lost top players like [Paul] Pogba.
“They’ve got problems and it’s going to take them a while to get a chance of winning the Premier League or the Champions League.
“Does De Jong want to go from Barcelona, who will be playing Champions League football, to Manchester United, who aren’t going to be?”