Man Utd's 2022/23 Premier League Fixtures
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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag’s desperation to inject some quality into his depleted midfield is a key reason for the Red Devils targeting both Frenkie de Jong and Christian Eriksen, according to reports. United are expected to conduct an incredibly busy summer transfer window to help Ten Hag rebuild the underachieving squad he has inherited from Ralf Rangnick.
Barcelona midfielder De Jong has been earmarked as a top target in Ten Hag’s early weeks as boss. The 25-year-old Dutchman rose to prominence as a young player under Ten Hag at Ajax before completing a move to Spain in 2019.
The new United head coach is keen to replenish a midfield that lost three players at the end of last season. Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic will all depart at the end of the month when their contracts expire.
Former Tottenham and Brentford ace Eriksen has also been targeted by Ten Hag. The Denmark international is deciding whether to remain with the Bees upon his contract expiring or explore potential moves to Spurs or United.
JUST IN: Man Utd ‘focused on two other deals’ in addition to De Jong transfer
According to the Daily Telegraph, United’s pursuits of De Jong and Eriksen are independent of each other. They are in fact due to Ten Hag’s desire to inject his midfield with quality after losing three players in the middle of the pitch.
The report continues that United are still a long distance from agreeing a fee with Barca for De Jong and are willing to walk away from the deal if a compromise is not made. The La Liga outfit want to recoup the £73.8million (€86m) they paid Ajax for the player in 2019, but United’s valuation is closer to £55.8m €65m).
However, United could hold an advantage in negotiations as Barca need to sell players in order to keep rebuilding under Xavi Hernandez. The Catalan club are far away from the financial issues that plagued their business last year, but remain in need of cash.
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Removing De Jong’s salary from the wage bill would allow them to acquire some of their key targets. Xavi guided Barca to a second-placed finish after a dreadful start to the campaign under Ronald Koeman.
In many ways, Ten Hag will hope to replicate Xavi’s Barca work when he welcomes his United squad back to pre-season. An excellent transfer window will help the 52-year-old propel the Old Trafford side back among the Premier League’s elite clubs.
Ten Hag is also believed to want to restock his attacking options having noticed that his side relied too heavily on a 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo for attacking output last term. Ajax winger Antony apparently has been targeted.
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