Rashford's upturn in form down to his personal 'happiness', says ten Hag
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Manchester United wanted Frenkie de Jong back in the summer transfer window. Unfortunately for them, the Barcelona star wasn’t keen to leave the Nou Camp for Old Trafford. However, such was the club’s determination to land the Netherlands international, it’s not unfeasible that Erik ten Hag and John Murtough will be aligned when it comes to pursuing the midfielder once again…
Manchester United spent three months chasing a deal for De Jong in the hope the Netherlands international would make the move to Old Trafford.
Murtough, along with Richard Arnold, jetted out to Catalonia and left with the impression the Barcelona star would be joining their team.
But, as the summer transfer window went on, it became clearer and clear that De Jong was reluctant to leave Barcelona at a time where they owed the midfielder £17million in deferred wages.
Ultimately, United switched their focus. First to Adrien Rabiot, and then to Casemiro – with the latter moving from Real Madrid in a massive £60m deal.
There was talk right up until the close of the transfer window that the Red Devils were still hopeful of bringing De Jong to Manchester.
Yet they failed in that mission, with the 25-year-old since proceeding to stay at Barcelona in the hope he can win the faith of Xavi.
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The January transfer window is a long way away. There’s plenty of Premier League matches to play until then, as well as the World Cup in Qatar.
But such was United’s determination to secure De Jong’s signature it’s possible Ten Hag and Murtough will seek an agreement with the player in the New Year.
United haven’t given up hope completely.
They feel the deferred wages De Jong was owed was the main stumbling block when it came to striking a deal, rather than a lack of Champions League football.
United had no issue agreeing a fee with Barcelona, who still need to balance their finances as they battle to survive in today’s modern world.
The Catalan giants were happy to receive an initial £63m for their prized asset, while an overall deal would have cost the Red Devils a massive £72m in total.
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United also believe De Jong would work under Ten Hag again, having received the right signals from the player and his entourage.
And while Scott McTominay has been in fine form this term, the Red Devils know they’d be acquiring a substantial upgrade in De Jong should a deal be done.
Casemiro has had a slow start to life at the club but the Brazil international will likely become a regular in the side in the coming weeks, once he’s grown used to Ten Hag’s methods and way of playing.
So imagine the Samba star and De Jong in the same midfield, with Bruno Fernandes playing further ahead.
United spent so much time on De Jong because, in Ten Hag’s opinion, there’s nobody like the Barcelona star in the whole of world football.
The former Ajax star is capable of tackling, progressing with the ball, slick passing and even scoring goals – something he’s regularly demonstrated over the course of his career.
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So United moving for De Jong in the New Year is something that certainly can’t be ruled out.
Meanwhile, another De Jong has spoken out about the job Ten Hag has done at Old Trafford so far.
Nigel De Jong, who graced the Premier League with Manchester City, thinks his fellow Dutchman has done well – especially by signing players who are ready to fight for him on the field.
He said: “Erik has 23 egos in his squad at Man United.
“You can have the best players in the world, but you can only start building a proper side when you can turn all those egos into a team.
“Ten Hag has chosen his players carefully. I can see one thing, he has picked players with whom he can win a war.
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“I can see the strategy already. Look at Martinez in the team. He has that killer mentality. Martinez will run through fire for Ten Hag.
“Antony is adding swagger. He too has a mentality what we call ‘over my dead body’.
“I have seen that side of Antony plenty of times. United have done really good business in my opinion. The spirit in the team has changed.
“Last year, if they conceded a goal, the team collapsed like a house of playing cards.
“Now, we can all see the energy and strong mentality in the United team. There is a real team on the pitch again.”
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