Erik Ten Hag Wants Frenkie De Jong To Be 'The Leader Of New Project' At Manchester United

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After months on speculation, it was confirmed earlier this week that Ten Hag has taken the permanent job at Old Trafford.

“It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead,” he told the club’s official website.

“I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.”

It was reported earlier this week that Ten Hag will make major changes in the opening months of his reign, with up to 12 players set to leave the club this summer.

The Mirror report that six players – Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Lee Grant – are all out of contract this summer and will therefore depart.

Ten Hag could also allow the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones, Alex Telles, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Eric Bailly to leave in an overhaul that we haven’t seen at Old Trafford for years, if ever.

In terms of additions, a number of names have emerged, including the likes of Harry Kane and Declan Rice, and it appears one of Ten Hag’s former players could be a top transfer target this summer.

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

Frenkie de Jong, who made over 50 appearances for Ajax between 2016 and 2019, has been touted as a potential ‘leader of the new project’ at Old Trafford.

In fact, Spanish publication Sport explain ‘there will be an offer’ for the midfielder, who joined Barcelona in a reported £65 million deal.

The report makes it clear that the 24-year-old is happy at the Catalan giants but his former manager could persuade him to make the move.

Barcelona boss Xavi has praised De Jong since the rumours emerged.

“Frenkie’s a very important player for me and for the club. He has to mark an era,” he said via Fabrizio Romano. “I’m happy with him. If it were up to me he’ll continue for many years at Barça”

“The quality of your players decide how you will play, and with what system,” he said.

“We had to find a way to make Frenkie function in the best possible way. You saw his incredible talent, but where do we have to use him to get the best out of him and his talent?

“Eventually I decided to play with two ‘number 6’ players on the pitch. Once I did this you saw how much better he became on the pitch, and how much better he made the whole team play and especially the attackers.”

Manchester United have needed a holding midfielder for some time. Do you think De Jong would be a good signing at Old Trafford?

Let us know in the comments.

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