Recent reports from the Metro state that Manchester United are keen on signing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong in the ongoing transfer window as Erik Ten Hag looks set to add to his options in the middle of the park ahead of the 2022/23 season.
The report further claims that Manchester United are preparing an improved bid for the Dutch international after the Catalan club turned down an opening offer of €60 million. Barcelona are well aware that €100 million is an exorbitant amount for the midfield maestro; however, they want a guaranteed amount of €75 million (plus add-ons) to let go of his services. Sources say they are trying hard to negotiate a fair deal for all the parties involved, as spending too much on one target would restrict Erik Ten Hag from strengthening other areas of the squad.
“I have enough confidence in myself [to be a success at Barcelona]. I am not afraid. I recently spoke extensively with the trainer [Xavi]. That was a very good conversation.” – de Jong said in a recent interview.
“I will not go into that [the links to United]. Not even about other names or clubs. I used to be naive and open-minded about it. I don’t do that anymore. I understand that that link is made. That sum is not that difficult, it is logical. I have enjoyed working with Ten Hag at Ajax – and I can’t look into the future, of course. But I prefer to stay at Barcelona.”
“That has always been my dream club and it still is. As long as I don’t hear from the club management, I assume nothing is going on.”
What Should Be Ten Hag’s Play?
It’s no surprise that Manchester United desperately need a holding midfielder – someone with an exceptional passing range, impressive work rate, and capable of winning ground duels – and de Jong fits the bill perfectly. Although the Dutchman doesn’t view Manchester United as an attractive destination at the moment, it’s reasonable given the disastrous season they have had. The lack of Champions League football for the 2022/23 season is not helping the cause either. Nonetheless, Erik Ten Hag’s past relations with the midfielder during his Ajax tenure might be crucial in convincing him for a move when Manchester United formally table their second bid.
His arrival would undoubtedly push the midfield duo of Fred and Scott McTominay down the pecking order. With Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, and Paul Pogba also departing, the Dutch tactician would need reliable figures at the centre of the park, players who are capable of playing at the highest level week in and week out – and de Jong, who is averaging 47 appearances per season for the last three seasons, could offer exactly the same.
In conclusion, the board should go all out for his signature in the next few days, irrespective of the price he’s available at.