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Manchester United have shown they can give Frenkie de Jong what Barcelona can’t


Manchester United have shown they can give Frenkie de Jong what Barcelona can't

Manchester United have already shown they can offer Frenkie de Jong something Barcelona seem incapable of providing.

De Jong’s transfer to United has hit a stumbling block. The Manchester Evening News reported last month that the two clubs had ‘agreed a deal in principle’ for the Dutch midfielder, though progress since then hasn’t been easy.

United are struggling to get the deal over the line. Meanwhile, De Jong has been moved into a centre-back position while on Barcelona’s pre-season tour, a position change Xavi clearly believes can benefit his side.

This is not the first time Barcelona have chosen to play De Jong out of position, as Ronald Koeman alluded to in 2020. He told Marca: “It’s important that he’s playing games, even if they might not be in his preferred position.

“With the national team, he players deeper but we play with two holding midfielders and Barcelona only play with one and two central midfielders, or sometimes with four central midfielders. The position he is playing now is different to the national team and Ajax.

“He’s learning to play further forward like this, it’s not all bad, but it’s not his best position. For me, I think he performs better playing deeper.”

This appears to suggest Barca are unwilling to promise De Jong he will always play in his natural position. Contrast this with what Erik ten Hag is looking for in a midfielder and it would seem as though De Jong could be given the opportunity to play where he wants if he makes the switch to Old Trafford.”

“We are looking for a player who can play in the holding midfield position,” Ten Hag explained a week ago. “But it has to be the right one.

“There are not many in that position capable of the level we demand. When we can’t find him, we have to deal with the players in our squad now and we will develop one in that position. I will not react on a certain player. We need the right player.

“We have a list and we qualify as the player who has the competence to play that role. We will strike the moment the player is available.”

De Jong is exactly the type of midfielder Ten Hag is looking for and that could be United’s biggest weapon as they look to lure him to Manchester.


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