MANCHESTER UNITED still believe that they could have signed Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, according to reports.
The Red Devils chased the Dutchman all summer before finally admitting defeat.
Erik ten Hag was not reunited with his former Ajax favourite De Jong, with United instead splashing £70million on Casemiro.
According to Dutch outlet AD, the Red Devils feel that "indecisiveness" cost them a deal.
They add that club chiefs knew what they would have to pay to secure his signature after his matches with the Netherlands in early June.
But they wavered over the asking price, reportedly £73m, and did not appear to relent until after De Jong had returned from his holiday the following month.
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By this point the 25-year-old was determined to dig his heels in and stay at Barcelona – making a deal difficult.
United did finally agree to pay £73m and left a £350,000-a-week contract on the table.
But De Jong snubbed them – not wanting to move to a team in the Europa League.
Red Devils chiefs now reportedly reckon that had they made more of an effort to sign him in June, they would have got their man.
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De Jong has featured in all six of Barcelona's matches so far this term under Xavi.
He started in the weekend's 4-0 drubbing of Cadiz, even netting his first goal of the season in the clash.
United, meanwhile, have opted to bed Casemiro in slowly – with the 30-year-old yet to start in the Premier League.
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