Transfer News: Erik ten Hag eyeing Frenkie de Jong reunion at Manchester United
The Dutchman is currently at Ajax Amsterdam and will take over the Red Devils at the end of the current season. Despite not taking charge officially, ten Hag already appears to be making plans for the summer.
If our performances this season have proven something, it is that a total revamp is needed to take Man United back to the top of English football. It is far from a quick fix and will need to be a long term project with recruitment a major driver.
ten Hag has now identified de Jong to lead his Man United rebuild. The duo worked together at Ajax and enjoyed much success in the Eredivisie. The midfielder eventually moved to Barcelona and is happy with life at the Nou Camp.
However, the player could be persuaded to swap La Liga for life in Manchester. Just 24, the Dutch international is an experienced player who can dictate the game from the middle of the pitch. ten Hag’s interest in him is understandable given the lack of such a trait in the Red Devils’ midfield.
Barcelona, however, remain keen to keep the player and could play hardball should Man United make their move. de Jong is a regular under Xavi Hernandez and appears to be pivotal to the Catalan club’s future plans. Whether Man United will throw money at the problem to have their way remains to be seen.
Oh Captain! My Captain!
ten Hag appears to be envisioning a bigger role for de Jong at the Theatre of Dreams. It has been suggested that the 24-year-old might be handed the captain’s armband and be made the central figure around whom the team is rebuilt.
Man United skipper Harry Maguire has enjoyed both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick’s trust. However serious questions have to be asked about his personal ability and also leadership skills. Whether we sign de Jong or not, it would appear that Maguire’s hold on the armband is loosening.
The midfield is a major concern for ten Hag going into the 2022/23 season. Nemanja Matic is set to leave the club while Paul Pogba’s future remains up in the air. Scott McTominay and Fred are rather limited and could use some competition in midfield while Bruno Fernandes can be downright frustrating at times.
It is fair to say that de Jong will offer the Red Devils a midfield general who can help dictate the tempo. Such a player is crucial for ten Hag’s system and it remains to be seen if Man United can land their man,
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But if Man Utd miss out on UCL football, which now looks like a very likely scenario, it would be interesting to see if the ex-Ajax star swaps a UCL playing club in Barca for the Red Devils- granted the Spaniards finish in the top 4 in their league.