It's Become Clear: Frenkie De Jong, Robert Lewandowski And Ronaldo Are All Connected
It looks like we have a breakthrough in three of this summer's biggest transfer rumors: Robert "Something Died Inside Me" Lewandowski, Barcelona bargaining chip Frenkie de Jong and the Bugatti Veyron-less Cristiano Ronaldo.
According to ESPN sources and Fabrizio Romano, Manchester United has closed the door on a potential Ronaldo transfer with the club informing the 37-year-old that it's not listening to any offers from some of Europe's top clubs and José Mourinho's Roma.
Ronaldo only has one year left on his Old Trafford deal and hasn't exactly warmed up to the idea of playing Europa League football next season, but he's shown a willingness to stick around under new manager Erik ten Hag if some ambition is shown in the transfer market.
After scoring 24 goals in 38 appearances across all competitions for the Red Devils last campaign, Ronaldo again demonstrated that he can be any club's immediate solution at the striker position. The rumors have naturally followed wherever a big club in need emerges. After issuing a come-and-get-me plea to Barcelona, Bayern Munich is reportedly ready to sell Robert Lewandowski to Barça for around $55 million.
Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes reached out to Bayern to see if they'd be interested in the Portuguese as a replacement, but, according to Romano, the Germans said nope.
There's also been a recent link with Chelsea after Mendes was spotted with the club's new co-owner and chairman Todd Boehly. The Blues will be back in the market for a forward with Romelu Lukaku reportedly set to return to Inter this week, but Chelsea's main priority remains the capture of Raheem Sterling from Manchester City.
But Man United have been clever in breaking the captivity news to Ronaldo, who's been on holiday in Mallorca with his family while finding time to STILL MAINTAIN THE SHAPE, because it appears that Ten Hag has finally landed his protégé back from Barça, Frenkie de Jong.
Frenkie de Jong deal. Manchester United are always in direct contact with Barça. The verbal proposal now discussed between clubs is around €65m guaranteed fee, after €60m plus add-ons opening bid rejected. #MUFCThere are still no changes on player and agents side. pic.twitter.com/RMt3xdIn95
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 26, 2022
De Jong was the midfield maverick of Ajax's run to the 2018-19 Champions League semifinals (voted the tournament's Midfielder of the Season) and has only gotten better over his three seasons at Camp Nou.
It's not difficult to imagine beautifully weighted tears streaming down Xavi's face if De Jong makes the move, but it'll fund the arrival of Lewandowski while also firmly passing the midfield mantle to Gavi, Pedri and Nico González (Xavi is also closely monitoring Álvaro Sanz, Pablo Torre and Emre Demir on Barça B — the rondos don't stop at La Masia).
Only Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba logged more LaLiga minutes than De Jong among outfield players, and the 25-year-old Dutchman contributed three goals and three assists.
At times he seems utterly incapable of making the wrong decision, as evidenced by the fact that he was only dispossessed 0.9 times per match with an average of 1.2 unsuccessful touches (Paul Pogba was dispossessed 1.4 times per match with an average of 2.1 unsuccessful touches). He'll bring a rhythm, tempo and sharpness to United's midfield that was clearly lacking last season.
The loser in all this is obviously Bayern, although they can now get what they want out of Barcelona for a player with one year left on his contract knowing that United has upped its De Jong offer.
Bayern has already strengthened its attack with the addition of Sadio Mané from Liverpool for $34 million, but 33-year-old Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting represents Lewandowski's direct backup at striker.