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Frenkie de Jong ‘knows he can thrive’ at Manchester United if he joins them from Barcelona this summer, according to reports. That comes as United boss Erik ten Hag has reiterated his stance he wants to sign a specific type of midfield player this window.
De Jong has been linked with a move to Old Trafford throughout the summer. However, his preference has always been to stay at Barca.
The Dutchman worked under Ten Hag for two years at Ajax before moving to the Nou Camp in 2019. United and Barca have agreed a fee for De Jong but the player is digging his heels in.
Spanish football expert Graham Hunter says De Jong knows he can succeed if he were to join United. But he has praised the 25-year-old for his determination to stay at the La Liga giants.
Hunter told talkSPORT: “De Jong, on preference, factual, doesn’t really want to leave. That’s not utterly new in football.
“He knows there’s a big club waiting for him, potentially two including Chelsea. He knows that it’s his ex-manager and his career can thrive at Old Trafford.
“But he prefers the idea of putting things right at Barcelona, playing in what is potentially an exciting new era. And let’s not mess about, the lifestyle’s very good in Barcelona.
“De Jong is literally saying if I can tough this out, ‘I’m going to stay and I’m going to prove my worth’. Hats off to the lad for that.”
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United boss Ten Hag spoke to the media on Monday and discussed his plans for signing a midfielder. However, he was not to be drawn on specific targets such as De Jong.
Ten Hag said: “We are looking for a player who can play in the holding midfield position 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.”
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