The lowdown: Major interest
Although the transfer window is yet to officially open, the pursuit of De Jong is already in danger of turning into an exhausting saga.
The Red Devils have been extensively linked with a move for the 25-year-old, particularly following the official appointment of former Ajax manager Erik ten Hag, who took charge of 59 games in which the cultured midfielder played in Holland.
Amidst all the noise surrounding the potential switch to Old Trafford from the Camp Nou, it now appears as though United have taken the first big step towards getting the deal moving…
The latest: Bid made
It’s claimed that Ten Hag has personally ‘spoken with the footballer to convince him to be his star at United’, having overseen his development earlier on in a fledgeling career.
The report states that De Jong – once lauded as a ‘sublime footballer’ by reporter Sam Dean – would be given the responsibility to be the ‘conductor’ in the midfield and is now ‘further away’ than ever from staying at Barcelona.
The verdict: Fingers crossed
Signing the 42-cap Holland star for the mooted expenditure would be a welcome positive statement of intent to signify the beginning of what is hoped to be a new and successful era under Ten Hag.
Sharing similar stylistic traits with Real Madrid superstar Luka Modric, Manchester City sensation Ilkay Gundogan and classy Inter Milan ace Nicolo Barella (Fbref), there is certainly an elite level player in the cross hairs of the United recruitment team.
With his talents already well known to the manager, during 2021/22, the Dutchman scored four times and registered five assists in 46 appearances across all competitions, earning an impressive 7.08 Sofascore rating whilst competing 1.3 key passes on average from 32 La Liga outings in the process.
That form and perceived level of potential, combined with the opportunity to link back up with his ex-manager Ten Hag and former teammate Donny van de Beek, makes the swoop for De Jong a no brainer, particularly having allowed Paul Pogba move on.
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