LONDON: Manchester United have contacted Barcelona over the availability of Frenkie de Jong. The Netherlands midfielder played for new United manager Erik ten Hag at Ajax and is regarded as the ideal fit for his intended system at Old Trafford. There has been no official bid made yet and United sources are adamant they will not overpay for the 25-year-old. De Jong reached the Champions League semi-finals with Ajax in 2019 before joining Barca on a five-year contract. Barca agreed a £65m deal for De Jong in January 2019 and after joining the Spanish giants that summer he has scored 13 goals from 140 appearances, helping them win the Copa del Rey in 2021. He made 46 appearances last season, scoring four goals and claiming five assists. Central midfield has been earmarked as the most important area for strengthening at Old Trafford this summer. The exits of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata mean United are short of numbers in that department. And it has been obvious for some time the club does not have the personnel to compete in that department with Manchester City and Liverpool. It is not yet known how keen De Jong is to make the move given United failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League. It is understood United are also looking at other options and would be prepared to walk away if they can’t do the deal they want. However, given Ten Hag’s desire to be reunited with the player, if De Jong gave an indication he was prepared to make the move, it is difficult to envisage United failing to complete their first transfer of the new era following last season’s dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.