Manchester United’s new interim manager Ralf Rangnick is reportedly eyeing up a move for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong ahead of the upcoming January transfer window.
According to Spanish outlet El Nacional (as relayed by the Daily Star), the Red Devils are interested in securing the highly-rated 24-year-old’s services as he perfectly fits the profile of player with whom their new manager likes to work.
United are reportedly willing to offer £47m in order to prise De Jong away from Camp Nou, but Barca are set to demand a much higher fee for their prized asset.
Xavi Hernandez has previously outlined the Dutch international’s importance to his future plans after taking up the Blaugrana hot seat, yet with the club in such financial turmoil, they may not be able to turn down a significant bid.
After rising through the ranks at boyhood club Ajax, De Jong soon established himself as one of European football’s most exciting and promising talents.
The technically gifted maestro scored five goals and provided 13 assists in 89 appearances for the Amsterdam club, claiming a domestic double in 2018/19 while playing a pivotal part in their run to the Champions League semi-finals.
De Jong’s impressive exploits at the Johan Cruyff ArenA earned him a big-money move to Barcelona back in July 2019, and despite the club’s troubles both on and off the pitch, he has continued to shine.
A Copa del Rey success last season added to the midfielder’s silverware collection, but it’s his performances which have really caught the eye.
“He’s an extraordinary footballer,” said Xavi about De Jong before he was appointed as Ronald Koeman’s successor. “A midfielder that is not afraid to receive the ball in difficult areas, I’ll repeat it, he’s a very good player.”
His former coach Jos Bogers gave an insight into why the youngster has had such a promising start to his career, saying: “De Jong always wants to improve. When he has played a great game he always wants to play better. And this is what makes him special, he is a top player.”
With Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard all out of contract at United next summer, Rangnick may be forced to strengthen his engine room options over the next couple of transfer windows.
Only time will tell if the 63-year-old backs up his apparent interest in De Jong with a concrete offer, but the Dutchman certainly seems like someone who could take the 20-time English champions back towards their former glories.