That's the view of former United striker Louis Saha, who believes De Jong doesn't want to upset the apple cart at Barcelona amid continued uncertainty surrounding his future. Erik ten Hag made the midfielder his top target earlier this summer and the two clubs have long had an agreement in place for the transfer.
However, the move has hit several obstacles with De Jong's seeming reluctance to leave Camp Nou. Barcelona are doing everything in their power to strong-arm him out of the club or play on his heartstring to take a pay cut. Neither technique is looking to have had an impact on De Jong, who has seen the supposed cash-strapped Catalonians spend millions on new players while not paying him millions in owed wages.
As a result, the deal is currently at an impasse with United having just over a month left to get it over the line. Many have questioned why United haven't abandoned the chase considering De Jong's apparent reluctance to join but Saha believes that the Dutchman must have some interest in doing so.
“I think if the club is continuing its pursuit of the player it's because the player has expressed at some point that for sure he's interested in joining Man United,” the Frenchman told the Manchester Evening News, with Sky Bet Fan Hope Hub. “He's at a big club, he's not playing at a club in the Championship or something, he's playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. So by all the respect because he doesn't know the club's decision or maybe what's going to come, he can't express himself and say 'oh yes, I want to leave' if there is a chance for him to stay.
“So it's a very difficult situation for the player at the moment where he thinks he holds some cards, it's a problem of the business. His image is a bit damaged in some way and is under pressure more than anything the ones hiding behind all those deals is the agents. The manager [Ten Hag] needs answers to have an understanding of what sort of players he needs, wherever to go for a replacement or let go of some players. So all this is not easy I just don't like it because it's not easy for the players.”
Saha hopes United can pull off the signing as De Jong would be perfect for Ten Hag's side. He continued: “He's a very good player. I would definitely support the belief that Ten Hag has in his midfield that they need to remain in power in terms of position, physically being strong, and good passing to score goals.
“Frenkie is the best player for that in the world, there are not many like him. Young talent, still. It's amazing to think they could have that calibre of player in midfield. Let's see, I really hope that he can come.”