Rangnick confirms plans to hold talks with incoming boss ten Hag
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Manchester United have been warned off the signing of Frenkie de Jong by Liverpool legend Steve Nicol. Barcelona star De Jong has emerged as a summer target for the Red Devils but Nicol does not think the Premier League would suit the Dutchman.
Erik ten Hag will take over as the new permanent United manager at the end of this season. Ten Hag managed De Jong at Ajax before his £65million move to the Nou Camp in 2019.
Manchester City have also been linked with the midfielder’s signature. But Nicol has doubts over whether either of the Manchester clubs would be a good move for De Jong.
The ESPN FC pundit says De Jong would not get as much of the ball as he would want at United. And he claims he hasn’t got the work rate to get into a Pep Guardiola midfield.
Nicol said: “The only question I would have over Frenkie de Jong and either of those teams is time on the ball. If there’s one thing he doesn’t like it’s when there are people scurrying around him, closing him down, and I’m not so sure he’s the greatest at doing it the other way around.
“So if he goes to Man United, how’s he going to get the ball? Because they don’t have anybody to get him the ball.
“And if he goes to City, he’s going to have to up his work rate. Because Pep won’t have anybody not carrying their weight. So I’m not sure either of these two teams are good for Frenkie de Jong.
“And I would actually say that I don’t think Frenkie de Jong’s game has got any better since he left Ajax. I don’t think he’s improved the way people, or certainly I, thought he would.
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“So I don’t think this is a slam dunk that he’s going to one of the best sides, shall we say.” Nicol’s ESPN colleague Craig Burley also has reservations over De Jong.
Burley says his career has stood still, or gone backwards, since his move to La Liga. The former Scotland international said: “If I was looking around Europe for a player at the moment, I’m not taken to Frenkie de Jong.
“At Ajax he was a terrific player but as Stevie said, it seems to have plateaued. In fact it might not even be as good as that, he was taken off in one of the recent games by Xavi.
“Whether it’s confidence or Barcelona themselves have struggled a little bit, or whether it’s just bad timing for him going to that club.”
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