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Ten Hag orders dream Man Utd signing as first Ratcliffe buy if he gets lifeline to STAY

Hopeful Ten Hag orders first summer signing

If Sir Jim Ratcliffe keeps Erik ten Hag, the manager has a clear idea of his first request

Erik ten Hag will reportedly ask for one of his long-term wishes to be fulfilled in the summer transfer window if Manchester United decide to keep him as their manager.

Man Utd are on course for their worst ever Premier League finish, so there has been an understandable amount of pressure on their manager. Co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been shaking up the backroom staff and Ten Hag’s position could also be at risk.

Other managers like Gareth Southgate and Thomas Tuchel have been tipped to replace Ten Hag at Old Trafford. However, it seems the Dutchman isn’t completely resigned to his fate yet.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Ten Hag would fulfil the final year of his contract with Man Utd if they don’t sack him in the summer. To prepare for it, though, he could order a massive signing.

The player in question would be Frenkie de Jong, his former Ajax pupil who he has been trying to sign from Barcelona ever since he took the Man Utd job in 2022.

So far, De Jong has been out of reach, but Mundo Deportivo suggests that Barcelona could look favourably on offers for him this summer if they can replenish their own midfield.

According to the report, Ten Hag is ‘still crazy’ about signing De Jong and is ‘clear that he will ask again’ for Man Utd to sign him. What’s more, De Jong’s representatives are aware.

It may all be wishful – or even, to borrow a word from Mundo Deportivo, ‘crazy’ – thinking given the likelihood of Ratcliffe deciding to sack Ten Hag, but if the manager gets a lifeline to continue into a third season in the Premier League, the addition of De Jong might help him finally implement his desired style.

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Critics have pointed out how Ten Hag has struggled to give Man Utd an identity over the past couple of years, failing to make them kick on since lifting last season’s Carabao Cup.

De Jong understands how Ten Hag ideally wants to play. During their Ajax days, the midfielder made 59 appearances under Ten Hag and there has always been speculation that they could get that tally going again by reuniting in Manchester.

Barcelona stance on De Jong future explained

From the Barcelona perspective, a contract renewal offer is on the table for De Jong, whose current deal is up in 2026. So far, he has not signed anything.

Xavi, who has reversed his decision to step down as Barcelona manager in the summer and will be planning for next season as well, views De Jong as a pivotal player to his project, but his superiors are worried the Dutchman is trying to leave for a lower fee or even for free in the future.

Man Utd could end up being one of the clubs who test their resolve in the summer, although Arsenal have also been linked this weekend (during which he turns 27).

Arsenal, like De Jong’s current club, will have Champions League football on offer next season, whereas Man Utd won’t and are still in danger of not having any European involvement at all.

How that will affect De Jong’s opinion of joining Man Utd, when he has already been reluctant despite his previous relations with Ten Hag, is debatable.

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