Frenkie de Jong refused to leave Barcelona over the summer.
Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong’s recent comments about how he hopes to stay at the Nou Camp outfit for up to another decade will certainly have set off alarm bells.
Numerous Premier League sides were keen on the playmaker but will now have to turn their attention elsewhere.
De Jong was at the heart of a relentless sage over the summer, with Erik ten Hag keen to reunite with the Netherlands international at Manchester United. The move was greenlighted by Barcelona and the two clubs were keen for negotiations to conclude.
However, De Jong never approved of the transfer and dug his heels in. Liverpool and Chelsea were also keeping tabs on the 25-year-old’s situation, perhaps in hope that they could hijack the move late in the window.
Though De Jong recently told De Telegraaf “I see myself at Barcelona for as long as possible. I personally hope for another 8 or 10 years” will certainly squash any hopes heading into January. But who could the aforementioned clubs turn to as alternatives? Express Sport takes a look.
Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
The most obvious alternative to De Jong is Jude Bellingham, who could see his price tag soar over the coming weeks if he is able to shine at the Qatar World Cup.
Numerous top sides hold an interest in the Borussia Dortmund superstar, though he is unlikely to leave before the end of the season.
However, if teams were anticipating signing De Jong imminently then they could try and jump the queue and prise Bellingham away from the Signal Iduna Park in January.
The 19-year-old is expected to cost over £120million when he is sold by Dortmund, though he is certainly a long-term investment.
Declan Rice (West Ham)
Another English alternative to De Jong is West Ham captain Declan Rice, who is yet to pen a new deal with the club despite months of negotiations.
The 23-year-old has led by example for the Hammers over the past few years and looks ready to be competing for major trophies.
Rice is a more defensive player compared to De Jong, though is adaptable and has shown that he can play in a double pivot as well as a midfield three.
The 23-year-old would inject leadership and quality in the centre of the park, though his talent will set a team back over £100m.
Enzo Fernandez (Benfica)
Numerous top teams were linked with Enzo Fernandez before he joined Benfica over the summer, and they will all rue not splashing the cash on the 21-year-old.
The Argentina international has progressed incredibly quickly in the Portuguese side and teams may decide to try and snap him up sooner rather than later.
Fernandez has scored one and assisted three in 12 Liga Portugal appearances so far this season and can be deployed as a No 6, 8 and 10 – providing the level of versatility that will have Chelsea boss Graham Potter licking his lips.
Moises Caicedo (Brighton and Hove Albion)
United are already regretting not being able to get a deal over the line for Moises Caicedo back in 2019, with Brighton now reaping the benefits.
The Ecuador international has shone since being thrown in at the deep end in the Premier League last year, with his performances earning him numerous plaudits.
The Seagulls have sold numerous top players over the past few years and are in no rush to offload another star, which could see them receive a whopping fee for his services if a top club arrives with a suitable offer.
Caicedo lacks experience but may have shown enough potential to tempt dejected De Jong pursuers into an offer.