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Erik ten Hag continues to have Frenkie de Jong as a target for Manchester United

Dec 27, 2022

MANCHESTER, England – Even if they were unsuccessful in their pursuit of the Dutch midfielder in the summer, Manchester United hasn’t given up on the idea of signing Frenkie de Jong.

When he moved from Ajax to United, manager Erik ten Hag named the Barcelona player his priority transfer target.

De Jong, 25, never indicated he would be eager to leave the Nou Camp despite the club’s financial reorganization complicating his contract there.

Ten Hag, however, is understood to want to review the issue during the summer.

After losing out on De Jong, United strengthened their midfield by acquiring Brazilian Casemiro for £70 million from Real Madrid and Brentford’s Christian Eriksen on a free transfer, who has since shown to be a wise acquisition.

However, despite the influx of newcomers from last summer, Ten Hag believes De Jong would blend in superbly with his team.

Jude Bellingham, an Englishman, must make a decision about his future before next summer.

In 2020, Bellingham visited United’s Carrington training facility and famously met Sir Alex Ferguson there. Although several United employees believed they would be able to sign the teenager from Birmingham at the time, he ultimately chose to join Borussia Dortmund.

Despite the fact that every big club in the globe is interested in a player who stood out during England’s journey to the World Cup quarterfinals, United believes they could still make a strong argument for Bellingham to join them if given the chance. However, they acknowledge they are not the favorites in a tight race.

Finding a new striker is still a top priority for Ten Hag following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cody Gakpo of PSV Eindhoven is on United’s radar, but it’s doubtful whether the team will make any substantial acquisitions in the coming month given the ownership structure of the team.

Closer look at Frenkie De Jong

On May 12, 1997, Frenkie de Jong was born in Arkel, Netherlands. The Barça player began his playing career in the Dutch Eredivisie with Willem II. He joined Ajax in 2016, and with time, he worked his way into the starting lineup. He was able to lead the Amsterdam team’s midfield because of his adaptability and keen vision. 

He has been able to continue honing his abilities in any midfield position thanks to his adaptability, vigor, and excellent vision.

De Jong moved to Ajax for a pittance of €1 a year after formally starting his professional career in 2015 at Willem II. Not absurd, as it was but symbolic.  He established himself at Ajax as one of the top young midfielders in Europe after winning a domestic double and making the Champions League semi finals. It was a sell-on clause that was used to lower the symbolic cost (emphasis on this).  During the historic 2018–19 season, De Jong was chosen as the Eredivisie player of the year, won the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup, and helped Ajax reach its first UEFA Champions League semifinal in 22 years.

De Jong made his senior public appearance internationally for the Netherlands in September 2018. He started for the Netherlands, who finished in second place in the inaugural UEFA Nations League. He also represented the group in the UEFA Euro 2020 and the FIFA World Cup 2022.

The De Jong Style of Football

De Jong is a versatile player who can play as a regista, defensive midfielder, central midfielder, holding midfielder, box-to-box midfielder, and center defender. Frenkie has defined himself as a player “who likes to have the ball a lot, and play possession.” 

His capacity to make plays while maintaining a strong defensive line has drawn acclaim. He frequently played center back alongside Matthijs de Ligt for Ajax. As a center back, he avoided fouls, displayed excellent positional awareness, and routinely won the ball back. His performances in this more defensive role prompted comparisons to the legendary German sweeper Franz Beckenbauer, who was compared to him for his propensity to advance the ball forward in possession and his ability to create plays from defense.

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