Incoming new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been boosted by reports that Barcelona are seemingly ready to sell Frenkie de Jong this summer.
Ten Hag takes over the United reigns with the club at a low ebb. They currently sit sixth in the table and will, at best, qualify for the Europa League. And if West Ham overhaul them, they could face the indignity of playing in the Europa Conference League.
As such, it’s little surprise to see Ten Hag looking to make wholesale changes to his United squad this summer.
Their defence has let in a club-record Premier League high of 56 goals this season. As such, a number of big-name defensive signings have been linked.
But it’s also in midfield where the Dutchman will need to bring in more quality. With questions continuing to be asked of Fred and Scott McTominay, Ten Hag is reportedly looking to bring more control in the area to games.
As a result, links to De Jong seem obvious. The player made his name at Ajax under Ten Hag’s tenure and was a big part of their side which reached the 2019 Champions League semi-finals.
Since moving to Barcelona, though, the midfield is still to find his consistent best. There have been flashes of his excellence, but overall he’s struggled to replicate his very best form on a regular basis.
And with Barcelona signing Franck Kessie as a free agent this summer, De Jong will reportedly be allowed to move on for the right price.
With finances still tight at Barcelona, they will likely have to wheel and deal this summer. Now Marca claims de Jong is one of nine players put up for sale by coach Xavi this summer.
Frenkie de Jong one of nine up for sale at Barcelona
The ruthless Blaugrana coach is willing to get tough in order to bring finances in. As such, he’s looking to move on any player who doesn’t fit into his immediate first-team plans.
As well as De Jong, Premier League clubs will also note the other stars Barca are looking to trade in this summer.
According to the Spanish paper, goalkeeper Neto will also be made available. There will be wholechanges in defence with Clement Lenglet, Sergino Dest, Oscar Mingueza and Samuel Umtiti up for grabs.
In midfield, Riqui Puig is for sale alongside De Jong. And in attack, Memphis Depay and Martin Braithwaite will also be made available this summer.
Indeed, Spurs and Newcastle are already being linked with moves for Lenglet.
Leeds, meanwhile, have long-standing links with Riqui Puig, while our exclusive also revealed their liking for Sergino Dest.
Arsenal may come back in for Neto, especially if Bernd Leno moves on this summer. The Brazilian keeper would prove an experienced back-up for No 1 Aaron Ramsdale at Emirates Stadium.
Ten Hag wise to move for midfielder
Adding a quality midfielder has to be a priority for United this summer. While the defensive unit has struggled, both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick have failed to get the balance right in midfield.
As such, gaining more control in games and creating more of a shield for their defensive unit must be a priority.
The likes of Amadao Haidara and Aurlien Tchouameni have been linked. But De Jong is a player Ten Hag knows well and surely someone who would flourish again under his leadership.
Erik Ten Hag wants Frenkie de Jong at Manchester United
Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag wants to sign Frenkie De Jong from Barcelona
And if the price is right – reports suggest Barca would sell for around £50m – United would be wise to get the deal done.
However, the player himself may still need some persuading. Comments made by his father suggest a familar issue may yet scupper United’s chances of getting the deal done.