The agent of Ajax's Frenkie De Jong has given an ambiguous response to rumours that Manchester United have enquired about the midfielder, though he suggests no negotiations will take place before the club agree a sale.
Ali Dursun acts as representative for De Jong and spoke to De Telegraaf (h/t Metro), who reported United were ready to follow the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the race for the £71.5 million-rated anchor.
Dursun said: "I can neither confirm nor deny this. You should ask Marc Overmars. I send all clubs that contact me over to him."
Sportswriter Elko Born referred to the earlier report from De Telegraaf, which also noted Los Blancos were willing to pay the alleged asking price placed on De Jong's head:
The Red Devils may also be willing to match that fee in order to get their hands on De Jong, although it's a steep figure to fork out for a player with only one full season of senior football under his belt.
Despite his lack of experience, the 21-year-old is showing signs he's cut out to make it at the top. Fan account Dutch Football highlighted the youngster's best contributions during his UEFA Champions League debut on Tuesday, a 3-0 victory over AEK Athens:
Ajax director of football Marc Overmars is said to be happy about the idea of a bidding war emerging among the likes of United, Real, Barca, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, who are all said to be interested, per Metro.
Jose Mourinho is still attempting to make sense out of his United squad, experiencing difficulties in sustaining effective partnerships in central midfield and at centre-back—De Jong can play in both those positions.
The Spanish Football Podcast recently referred to a Mundo Deportivo back page touting Barcelona's interest in De Jong, who may be considered as similar to Sergio Busquets and a potential successor to the Spaniard:
The tug-of-war that appears to be emerging around De Jong further highlights Ajax's ability to turn young talent—in this case, an 18-year-old signed from Willem—into lucrative assets too valuable to not sell.
De Jong comes highly rated, but United need to address more immediate concerns instead of splurging on long-term projects, meaning such a substantial figure may be better off invested another way.