Manchester United are now considering Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz as a ‘serious alternative’ to Frenkie de Jong as the Red Devils finally begin to assess possible back-up options to the Dutchman. Erik ten Hag and the Old Trafford hierarchy have been stubborn in their approach, insisting that until a deal is totally dead in the water, De Jong will remain United’s transfer priority.
But little progress has been made after 12 solid weeks of work on the deal, despite agreeing a fee with Barcelona.
United have already shaken hands on a £72million package including add-ons but De Jong has remained consistent that he wants to stay in Catalonia.
Now Goal are reporting that United could turn attentions to Spain international Ruiz, who is deemed a ‘serious alternative’ by the club.
Ruiz is in the final year of his contract at Napoli and could be set for a difficult season after failing to agree a new contract.
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De Jong wants to play in Europe’s elite club competition and that’s partially why he has little interest in joining United.
His first choice is to remain with Barcelona though as discussions over a pay-cut continue.
Barca need De Jong and several other high-profile players to agree salary reductions in order to register a number of their new signings including Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha.
But so far, De Jong is yet to show any desire to slash his wages, although it could be the only way he gets to stay at Camp Nou.
Italian journalist and Napoli expert Ciro Venerato recently revealed United had made a move to sign Ruiz via his agent.
He told CalcioNapoli24: “Manchester United made an attempt with Fabian’s entourage.”
Ten Hag has already outlined his desire to improve the club’s options in midfield and other areas of the pitch, stating: “We signed [Christian] Eriksen for the midfield department, we are really happy with that.
“I’m also happy with the performance of our midfield and offensive department.
“This season has a lot of games, with the World Cup, so we need more options.
“We need a good team, a good squad, to get the right results at the end of the season. We need to strengthen the squad even more, and we’re looking around, but we need the right players.”