STEVE McCLAREN looks set for a return to Manchester United after being part of talks with the club and incoming boss Erik ten Hag.
Former England boss McClaren joined the incoming Red Devils boss today and his assistant Mitchell van der Gaag who is following him to Old Trafford.
They met in Amsterdam with United’s Director of Football John Murtough less than 24 hours after Ten Hag had clinched the Dutch title with Ajax.
McClaren, 61, was Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant from 1999 to 2001 before going on to manage Middlesbrough.
His presence at such a meeting is the clearest indication yet that he is going to be involved in the new management set-up at the club.
The group got together to identify which players they wanted to bring in this summer with Frenkie de Jong top of their wish list.
However, the Red Devils admit it will be tough to get him away from Barcelona and also fight off interest from the likes of Bayern Munich, PSG and neighbours Manchester City who can all offer Champions League football and the chance of winning it.
As well as a striker and a centre-half, Ten Hag has prioritised two midfielders with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic on their way out.
The problem is there is no great desire from De Jong to leave the Nou Camp and will only be sold if the financial status of the Spanish giants requires it.
Even then the price tag for the Dutch international could prove prohibitive.
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The 25-year-old still has two years left of his current contract and Barca would want back most of the £75million they paid to Ajax for him back in 2019 when he worked under Ten Hag.
SunSport revealed this week that United only have a spending budget in the region of £100m, although payments for players can be structured over a number of years.
They have been instructing agents to seek out the best free buys to supplement any spending with outgoing interim boss Ralf Rangnick insisting United may need as many as ten players to get themselves sorted out.
De Jong is said to be upset at reports that he was in advanced talks to leave Barcelona for Old Trafford.
While United have registered their interest with Barca and the player’s representatives, they accept there is a long way to go before any deal could be tied up, if at all.