Man Utd told to ‘move on’ from De Jong pursuit as Ten Hag considers alternative midfield targets

Ben Stewart
Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, centre, battles for the ball with Real Madrid's Eduardo Camavinga, left, and Federico Valverde, right, during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona

Manchester United have held a long-term interest in Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, but they have been warned against his signing.

Erik ten Hag has worked with De Jong at Ajax and he was keen on bringing him to Old Trafford in the summer. The deal didn’t materialise in the end as Man Utd instead signed Casemiro.

Following Barcelona’s triumph over Real Madrid, De Jong was asked about a potential move to Manchester. He told reporters: No, I don’t think I’m going to make that step.

“You never know, of course, but at the moment I am very happy at Barcelona.”

On the back of De Jong’s comments, Stan Collymore thinks that Man Utd should look elsewhere for a midfielder in the summer.

“Frenkie De Jong spoke after Barcelona’s 2-1 El Clasico victory and once again reaffirmed his desire to remain with the Catalan giants,” Collymore told CaughtOffside.

“As for Manchester United – they shouldn’t pursue players that clearly don’t want to move to their club. There’s an argument to suggest that Chelsea are finding this out the hard way with Mykhailo Mudryk, who blatantly wanted to join Arsenal before Chelsea offered a ridiculous contract.

“De Jong, every time he’s been asked about moving to Manchester United has pretty much said ‘no thanks’ – so just leave him alone and move on to alternative targets.

“If Manchester United end up getting taken over by ridiculously wealthy owners, there is no reason why they couldn’t look past De Jong and go after the real big hitters who are destined to become the next global superstar – Jude Bellingham for example.

“I know he probably won’t end up at Old Trafford in the summer, but that type of player is the kind of player I am talking about.”

Man Utd have other targets

While De Jong would have been a natural fit for Man Utd, they do have alternative targets. West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has also been a target for Ten Hag’s side.

Along with the West Ham midfielder, Man Utd have also been looking at Real Madrid’s Eduardo Camavinga.

The French midfielder certainly wouldn’t come cheap as United would need to pay over the odds to seal a deal. His contract with Real Madrid runs until 2027 and he is valued highly in Spain.

The 20-year-old has started 14 La Liga matches during this campaign and has been used as a substitute on 12 occasions.

Carlo Ancelotti is keen to keep Camavinga at Real Madrid and despite some mistakes this season, he regards him as an important player.

“Camavinga is very important,” Ancelotti told reporters. “In the last game, he made obvious mistakes, but by playing so well he makes you forget all the bad things.

“Against Espanyol, he made a very big mistake, but then he played a very good game. He is untouchable now and in the future.”

There’s no doubt that Man Utd will be in the market for a midfielder in the summer, but it remains to be seen how much they are willing to spend.

READ MORE: Man Utd transfer chiefs focusing on Prem revelation with winger mission having double benefit as Ten Hag casts two players aside