MANCHESTER UNITED remain hopeful of signing Frenkie de Jong despite sealing a transfer deal for Real Madrid star Casemiro.
Many have now suggested the club’s pursuit of De Jong is over as a result, with the 25-year-old previously their top target.
But The Mirror claim United are still chasing a deal for the Netherlands international, despite knowing it will be easier said than done.
United have agreed a fee with Barcelona for De Jong which is believed to be worth in the region of £72million overall, a fee that would make him one of their most-expensive signings of all time.
And they’re refusing to throw in the towel when it comes to landing the player.
The Glazers know United need more reinforcements, with Erik ten Hag privately warning them more is required if the club are to rapidly improve under his guidance
United have lost their opening two Premier League matches against Brighton and Brentford.
And a source is quoted as saying: “United are going into the final days of the transfer window with all guns blazing.”
It’s added that De Jong’s advisers are banking on Barcelona ‘blinking first’ in their efforts to jettison the Netherlands international, who is no longer an undroppable figure in Xavi’s midfield.
So that means there’s still some hope the former Ajax star will be reunited with Ten Hag, who previously managed him over in Amsterdam.
The report says United are hoping to land Cody Gakpo and Antony, too, in deals that would take their spending to around £300m.
The Red Devils have never spent that much in a single window, with the Glazers usually hoping for a net spend closer to £150m instead.
United have already had one offer for Antony turned down by Ajax, with the 23-year-old refusing to train with team-mates on Friday when news of the offer broke.
Ajax have already lost Lisandro Martinez to the Red Devils and, understandably, are keen to avoid seeing another key player jump ship.
But United are expected to finally break their resolve, with the report saying in Amsterdam they’re bracing themselves for a departure before the deadline.
Gakpo is also being targeted, too, having scored 12 goals and clocked up 12 assists for PSV Eindhoven last season.
He is valued at £35m by his club and is believed to be craving the chance to play in the Premier League.
United will apparently ‘step up’ their efforts to snap up the 23-year-old once PSV’s Champions League fate becomes clearer, with the Dutch side due to face off against Rangers on Wednesday night.
It’s said that Ten Hag is concerned about his rift with Cristiano Ronaldo, too.
And while they’ve publicly insisted the 37-year-old won’t be allowed to depart, the fact they’re eyeing two new forwards suggests they’re open to a potential sale.
Addressing United’s deal for Casemiro, meanwhile, former Liverpool star Didi Hamann has claimed the Brazil international ‘is not the answer’ for the Red Devils.
Speaking to The Mirror, he said: “Casemiro is a great player – you only have to look at what he has won at Madrid.
“But he isn’t going to United to win the league, is he? We’re only two games into the season and it’s already obvious that United aren’t going to be anywhere near the title race.
“They are years behind Liverpool and Manchester City – and they are losing ground on Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal as well.
“Signing Casemiro is a small step forward – but he’s not the answer.
“It is going to take years and years of backing Erik ten Hag in the transfer market before United are challenging for the big trophies again.
“But that’s been obvious since [Sir Alex] Ferguson retired – and look at how many managers they have sacked in the process.”