Erik ten Hag's Man Utd in-tray
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Manchester United are working hard to reunite Erik ten Hag with Frenkie de Jong in his first transfer window as manager. United are pursuing De Jong as they search for Paul Pogba’s midfield replacement and Barcelona look to raise funds through player sales this summer.
Ten Hag is understood to want two midfielders, a centre-back and a striker ahead of his first season in charge at Old Trafford. One will be a defensive midfielder, an area United desperately need to bolster, and the other will likely be tasked with filling the void Pogba will leave behind as he exits as a free agent.
According to Sky Germany, the Red Devils are ‘trying everything’ to ensure Ten Hag adds De Jong to his squad this summer. The former Ajax boss wants the 25-year-old and talks about a potential transfer have taken place as the club ‘verifies the financial package’ involved.
However, the report adds that Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez ‘definitely won’t let De Jong go’ without resistance. Despite the Spaniard’s stance, though, if an acceptable offer arrives, the cash-strapped La Liga giants would be obliged to accept.
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De Jong made 59 appearances across two seasons for Ajax under Ten Hag and was a stalwart of the side that reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2019. In the following summer, he joined Barcelona in a £65million deal and has gone on record to say he wants to stay at Camp Nou for the long-term.
But the Catalan club’s financial troubles have embroiled his future in doubt as they desperately look to gather funds before the end of May. They will seemingly prioritise extending the contracts of young midfield stars Pedri and Gavi, which could prompt De Jong’s exit.
The largest stumbling block United will face is likely the player himself, who is said to want Champions League football next season. It’s still unconfirmed where Ten Hag’s side will be playing in Europe next time, with Europa League and Europa Conference League both possible.
However, he will hope to persuade De Jong to join him at Old Trafford if Barcelona decide they have to cash in on him this summer. And if the Netherlands international warms to the idea, he would undoubtedly be a central figure in Ten Hag’s revolution in M16.
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