Man Utd plot double transfer raid on Barcelona despite BOTH players publicly rejecting Old Trafford move | The Sun

MANCHESTER UNITED are reportedly interested in TWO Barcelona stars, despite BOTH of them rejecting the Red Devils last season.

Erik ten Hag is hoping to bolster his squad in the summer United set to return to the Champions League.

And they are understood to be plotting a return for Barcelona duo Frenkie de Jong and Ronald Araujo.

According to Mundo Deportivo, United are planning to swoop for centre-back Araujo if the Catalan giants' financial situation means they fail to register him for the 2023/24 campaign.

The Uruguayan defender, 24, has been a key part of Xavi's defence which has conceded just 15 goals in 35 LaLiga games this season.

But United failed to sign him last summer when he opted to pen a contract extension to keep him at Barcelona until 2026.


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He then came out and told ESPN: "I am really happy and I am convinced that staying is the right decision because there are good years ahead for the club. I was always certain I wanted to stay.

"There were big offers from abroad, but I'm happy at Barcelona. My family love it here and the fans and my team-mates have always made me feel at home. I'm grateful for the effort the club have made.

"We all gave a little bit to reach an agreement, which is what we all wanted. [The Premier League interest] didn't distract me at all.

"I was convinced what I wanted. It's true money is a factor, but for me it's not the most important thing.

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"I am happy at Barcelona. The idea is to be here for many years, and maybe in two years I can renew again and go for even more [success]. That's the intention. I am convinced that with the team and the project we are building."

De Jong also publicly rejected a move to Man Utd last summer after a long-running transfer saga.

The Dutch midfielder, 26, who is also under contract until 2026, starred for Ajax under Ten Hag and was thought to be a done deal to come to Old Trafford on a number of occasions.

But he ended up staying, telling NOS: "The club was in a difficult situation and they could have sold me for a big fee. But I didn't want to go and stayed.

"Manchester United spoke with Barca, even though I wanted to stay. I want to be at Barca for as long as I can."

Barcelona recently regained the LaLiga title following an impressive domestic campaign.

But they were eliminated by United in the play-off round of the Europa League – having been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage for the second successive year.

Barcelona are thought to be in the process of offloading players so they can afford to bring Lionel Messi back to the club.

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The Argentine icon, 35, is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

And while a romantic return to Barcelona has been mooted, a move to Saudi Arabia now appears most likely for the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.

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