Ex-United midfielder explains why Ten Hag wants De Jong so badly

Manchester United are edging closer to confirming Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong as their marquee summer signing.

Widespread reports have linked the talented Netherlands international with a big move to Old Trafford with the eventual fee believed to be around €85m (Fabrizio Romano).

De Jong, 25, worked with Erik ten Hag during his final season with Ajax back in 2019 before earning himself a massive £77.4m move to Barcelona.

Although it is probably fair to say that the 25-year-old had no immediate plans to depart Catalonia this summer, Barcelona’s need to bring in funds has meant the former Ajax midfielder is on the verge of being sacrificed.

Read more: Fabrizio Romano says which club is leading race to sign Lisandro Martinez

United fans won’t care though. We just want a top-quality central midfielder to come in and fill the void left by the likes of Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba – both of whom left earlier this month after failing to extend their contracts. Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata also departed for the same reason.

Another person who feels De Jong will have a lot to offer ten Hag and United is former midfielder Luke Chadwick.

Breaking down and detailing exactly why ten Hag is so eager to be reunited with the ex-Ajax academy graduate, Chadwick believes De Jong’s technical ability has the potential to transform the entire team.

“I think getting this deal done is massive for United. It’s incredibly important for Ten Hag,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside.

“It’s clear De Jong is his number one target and if he doesn’t get him, where does he go from there?

“I think it is a statement signing – a big name with huge pedigree and great potential. You’d imagine he’ll play in a deep role, as one of the two in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Bruno Fernandes as the number ten.

Bruno Fernandes (right) and Frenkie De Jong (left) in international action for Portugal and the Netherlands but they could be teammates at Man United next season.

“It could really change the way United play, he gives the team something different. He’s got outstanding technique, keeps the ball really well, can play through the lines, get players on the ball.

“I think it does give United more options than Fred and McTominay, who are two hard-working players but without that ability on the ball of De Jong. They’re not players who can control a game – speed it up when needed, or slow it down, and that’s the kind of thing that needs to happen.

“De Jong’s the player United have been chasing all summer, so it needs to happen. To get him over the line does make a statement, and gives Ten Hag the chance to get the team playing in the style he had at Ajax.”

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