Manchester United might now struggle to secure one of their long-term targets…
According to journalist Ben Jacobs, the Red Devils may struggle to tempt Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona despite his relationship with Erik ten Hag.
He wrote on his Twitter: “A lot has been made of ten Hag’s role in landing de Jong. But I’m told de Jong wants UCL football and sees MUFC as unstable.
“He has a decent professional relationship with ten Hag but nothing so special that it gives Manchester United an advantage.”
A man that United have clambered over for all of summer, this news will be a dagger in the heart of the Dutch manager who hoped to bolster his weak midfield with some world-class talent.
As it so happens, the Red Devils’ pull is not what it once was, with Sunday’s defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion further cementing their place as a club in decline.
However it may mean that the Old Trafford faithful will have to get used to the midfield pairing who started that game, a duo of Fred and Scott McTominay, that pundit Robbie Mustoe branded “nowhere near good enough”.
To add de Jong would upgrade the side tenfold, as he perfectly encapsulates the kind of football ten Hag will want to bring to United.
This is outlined by the fact he ranks in the top 6% for progressive carries and the top 5% for progressive passes received. He is a press-resistant midfielder who can break the lines and find teammates in space, further outlined in his 90.1% pass accuracy.
At face value, ten Hag will be gutted that he will not get the perfect man to fill the position he needs.
However, at a deeper level, he will be even more gutted that Manchester United’s stock has fallen so low that they are no longer an attractive proposition for Europe’s top talent.
He has a mountain of a task on his hands returning them to the top of the game, and this is the first of likely many blows he will face.