Frenkie de Jong is believed to be one of Erik ten Hag’s prime targets this summer and the Barcelona midfielder could become his first signing in charge of Manchester United.
Earlier this week, there were reports that United were becoming increasingly confident of signing De Jong this summer after the 25-year-old gave the green light to make the move from Spain.
De Jong is understood to be keen on a move and the supposed transfer has been met by jubilation among United supporters, who are craving midfield reinforcements after several years of neglect.
Furthermore, senior midfielders in Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba are leaving the club at the end of this month, leaving a gaping hole in that area.
Not everyone agrees that De Jong would be the perfect addition for Ten Hag, however. Former Liverpool striker and now pundit Stan Collymore has branded United’s pursuit of De Jong as ‘underwhelming’ and likened the player to Donny van de Beek, the thus far much-maligned midfielder.
“Manchester United ’s pursuit of Frenkie De Jong is completely underwhelming,” Collymore told The Mirror.
“He reminds me a bit of Martin Odegaard in the way he was trumpeted as, ‘The next big thing’, before moving to Spain and then failed to reach the heights expected of him. At least Odegaard was 16 when he joined Real Madrid, not 21, as De Jong was when he moved to Barcelona.
“Don’t get me wrong, De Jong is a good player, he has all the attributes and would be a decent addition to the squad. But I ask myself if he’s someone who will take United to the next level and the answer, frankly, is, ‘No’. Actually, he reminds me of his compatriot Donny van de Beek.
“Ajax produced a full-page farewell to Van de Beek when he joined United, saying ‘Look after him’. And Edwin van der Sar, a legend at both Ajax and United, was raving about him. Yet it didn’t happen for him at Old Trafford and I’m not sure it will for De Jong.
“I know Van de Beek didn’t get the opportunities he deserved at United and De Jong will be given a chance by Erik ten Hag. But if I’m at Liverpool or Manchester City, then I’m certainly not going to be worrying that Manchester United look likely to sign Frenkie de Jong this summer.”
Judging a player before they’ve even kicked a ball is unnecessary and it’s not set in stone that De Jong will be signing for United just yet.
One thing’s clear, however, and that’s Erik ten Hag’s commitment to the cause and he’ll know exactly who he needs to produce a winning formula at Old Trafford.
Ten Hag and De Jong enjoyed endless success together at Ajax and if United’s new manager thinks that he’s the player to be tasked with improving United’s midfield, Collymore’s verdict shouldn’t bother too many fans.