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Ten Hag explains hunt for a holding midfielder amid De Jong pursuit

Erik ten Hag has suggested Manchester United are still trying to sign Frenkie de Jong this summer.

It’s almost been 11 weeks of negotiations between Manchester United and Barcelona, but the Netherlands midfielder reportedly wants to stay at Camp Nou, despite their attempts to cash in this summer.

Ten Hag has already added a left-back and centre-back to his squad, however, the priority position to address this summer has always been midfield. United then went from being linked with Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips to De Jong.

This suggests that Ten Hag would rather sign a deep-lying playmaker, who can control games in the middle, instead of a robust defensive midfielder.

In a recent interview, the new United manager suggested there are back-up options to De Jong, but it has to be the right player to adapt to his style of football.

“We are looking for a player who can play in the holding position,” Ten Hag said, as per the Daily Mirror, “but it has to be the right one.

“There are not many in that in that position capable of the level we demand. When we can’t find him, we have to deal with the players in our squad now and we will develop one in that position.

“I will not react on a certain player. We need the right player. We have a list and we qualify as the player who has the competence to play that role. We will strike the moment the player is available.”

Could this mean we might see more of Fred and Scott McTominay playing in a double pivot next season. That said, when Ten Hag says he could also develop a player for this role, he may be talking about giving a chance to 19-year-old duo Zidane Iqbal or Charlie Savage as both youngsters continue to impress on tour.

James Garner is another young midfielder who will want minutes in the team next season.

As for De Jong, he is currently away on pre-season duty with Barcelona…

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1 Comment

  1. How refreshing to hear a manager or coach rather, to talk like a coach instead of vibes and cultural resets.

    ETH can only do what he can with this current squad but he talks a proper game and has been schooled and learned at some of the best places, not to mention under pep so he should know a thing or two. Are united finally joining the other elite clubs in the uk? Prob not with Murtough but time will tell.

    Also it’s about time United got players who can pass a football.

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