De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links
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According to reports in Catalonia, Frenkie de Jong has turned down the chance to join Manchester United this summer. The Netherlands international is Erik ten Hag’s top target, something that’s been well-documented in recent weeks. However, a move that will see the 25-year-old move to Old Trafford is currently hanging in the balance – and that could benefit three players already at the club.
Manchester United have been pushing to land De Jong all summer long.
But the Barcelona star, according to Mundo Deportivo, has turned down the chance to play at Old Trafford because his preference is still to stay at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona, for their part, want to jettison De Jong. They need to balance their finances, especially given their interest in Bayern Munich hitman Robert Lewandowski.
But it seems like United are now in severe danger of missing out on a player they first opened talks regarding over 50 days ago.
While that would be a hammer blow for Ten Hag, it could actually benefit three of his existing players.
Starting with Scott McTominay.
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In the eyes of many, the Scotland international isn’t good enough to start week in, week out for United.
He’s undeniably got his uses but McTominay just isn’t world-class, blowing hot and cold under the likes of Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
Yet, under a new manager, there’s a sense the 25-year-old can kick on and improve.
He’s been expected to be the fall guy should De Jong arrive, with Ten Hag hoping to play his compatriot alongside both Donny van de Beek and Bruno Fernandes.
But if the Barcelona star doesn’t come, then McTominay can expect to start matches at United for the foreseeable future.
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Again, it would be hard to see the Brazil international get into the same team as De Jong – especially given he’s now morphed into more of a box-to-box player.
With the World Cup in Qatar creeping closer, Fred can’t afford to spend much time on the bench.
Yet if United miss out on their leading target, then it’s feasible they’ll use the Samba star as frequently as before.
Fred, like McTominay, can be considerably improved under Ten Hag’s coaching.
And he’d fancy his chances of being a regular in the team under the Dutchman if De Jong really has decided a move to United this summer isn’t for him.
Then, there’s James Garner.
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The midfielder’s short-term future at United is uncertain after he flourished for Nottingham Forest last term, helping them secure promotion to the Premier League.
Many are expecting him to go out on loan again as the Red Devils look for him to continue his development.
But without De Jong, United will lack a player capable of dictating matches and controlling proceedings from the middle of the park.
So Garner, therefore, could get given more of a chance to show he can be the future of the club – having previously been compared to Michael Carrick.
While United missing out on De Jong would benefit the trio, however, it won’t sit well behind the scenes.
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Ten Hag has been pushing the deal but, despite previously managing the midfielder at Ajax, may now fail to acquire a player he sees as vital to his project.
It would reflect poorly on John Murtough and Richard Arnold, too, given how much United have put into this pursuit.
And it would sum up the current state of the club, who aren’t anywhere near as attractive as they used to be.
Of course, there’s still a possibility De Jong will join with United unwilling to throw in the towel.
Yet their hopes of striking a deal seem to be becoming more and more remote with each passing day.
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