Chelsea set to battle Man United for the signing of Frenkie de Jong (The Athletic)

Chelsea have initiated direct talks with Barcelona regarding the signing of talented midfielder Frenkie de Jong this summer.
The Blues began their transfer business by signing Raheem Sterling from Manchester City and Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli. The club confirmed the arrival of 18-year-old goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina from Chicago Fire on a six-year deal before returning to the MLS side on-loan for the 2022/23 campaign.

Carney Chukwuemeka is expected to follow Sterling, Koulibaly and Slonina through the door at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea confirmed they had reached an agreement to sign the Aston Villa talent in a £20million deal, subject to a medical being completed. Todd Boehly is continuing to back Thomas Tuchel in the transfer market, shown by their latest transfer pursuit of Brighton’s Marc Cucurella with the player’s camp making it clear he is open to a move to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are now looking at securing a deal for Barcelona star De Jong after the Dutch midfielder has been linked with a move to Manchester United all summer. The Blues have opened direct talks with Barcelona and are optimistic about striking a deal for the 25-year-old, according to The Athletic. However, they are behind their Premier League rivals, with United already agreeing a £71million fee for the midfielder.

Barcelona boss Xavi recently admitted he was unsure where De Jong will be playing his football beyond the summer. Xavi said: “I don’t know if he’s going to stay here.

“I have never sent Frenkie a message. There is still time, and a lot of things can still happen.”
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville recently dropped a major hint regarding the future of De Jong with Barcelona. In a post on Twitter, Neville said: “I was in Miami when Barca were there playing two weeks ago, and I got told (third hand) De Jong preferred staying at Barca or Chelsea and London. It wasn’t a concrete source, but this follows that thought.”

Tensions are thought to be high between the two European heavyweights after Barca pipped the Blues to the signings of both Raphinha and Jules Kounde earlier in the transfer window. Barca remain interested in signing Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, but Tuchel has publicly admitted he wishes to block any move for the former this summer, with both Spaniards entering the final year of their deals.

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