Ten Hag hints at Frenkie de Jong contingency plan after admitting Man Utd business isn’t to his liking

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Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag Credit: PA Images
Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag Credit: PA Images

Erik ten Hag revealed what Man Utd will do if they can’t sign Frenkie de Jong, and admitted the laboured nature of their business is far from ideal.

After a slow start, Man Utd’s summer transfer window is finally clicking into gear. Tyrell Malacia was the first domino to fall and will bolster the left-back ranks. Christian Eriksen was officially confirmed as a Red Devils player on Friday.

That signing has come in for criticism in certain sections of the media, though Ten Hag recently explained his logic behind the move.

A deal potentially rising to £55m for Lisandro Martinez will be the next one announced. Today’s Transfer Gossip shed light on who could be signing number five – assuming Manchester United can make Frenkie de Jong number four.

Regarding the Dutchman, United have a deal worth an initial £63m in place with Barcelona. The well-documented hurdle they are yet to overcome regards De Jong’s personal terms.

The 25-year-old is determined to stay at the Camp Nou and fight for his place despite Barcelona attempting to force him out. Xavi’s side have deals for Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski to finance and a De Jong sale would greatly aid their cause.

United may have to look within

De Jong remains Ten Hag’s primary target in central midfield. Now, speaking to the Athletic, Ten Hag insisted United will strike for De Jong if the moment comes, though admitted the list of viable alternatives on De Jong’s level is a short one.

As such, the Dutch boss admitted United may have to look within and develop a player of their own if the transfer saga doesn’t end in success.

“We are looking for a player who can play in the holding midfield position, but it has to be the right one,” said Ten Hag.

“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 competencies to play that role. We’ll strike the moment the player is available.”

De Jong delay far from ideal

United’s squad are responding well to Ten Hag’s methods and demands in pre-season.

Two thumping wins have been achieved over Liverpool (4-0) and Melbourne Victory (4-1), and the work Ten Hag is putting in with his new charges is already bearing fruit.

However, the longer the De Jong saga drags on, the less time he will have to work with Ten Hag before the season begins – if he is ultimately signed, of course.

In a separate interview with Sky Sports, Ten Hag admitted he would have much preferred United’s transfer business to have been wrapped up long before it has. Pre-seasons are never more important than when a new manager is at the helm.

“That’s for sure,” added Ten Hag.

“The best and the most perfect situation is when you start pre-season with the squad fully equipped.

“But most of the time that’s not the fact of football, so I am realistic and I have to deal with the fact.”

How high can Man Utd soar next season?

Ten Hag has taken the reins at a club that set two unwanted records last season. They produced their lowest ever points tally in the Premier League era (58) and conceded their highest number of goals in a single season too (57).

A series of high profile free agents have departed, while uncertainty continues to surround the future of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Regardless, there has been nothing but positivity coming from United’s camp in pre-season. What’s more, Ten Hag is being allowed to sign players who suit his system rather than the club acquiring a collection of individuals who don’t mesh well.

De Jong would be the jewel in the crown of their summer business and would unquestionably aid their cause from day one.

With or without the influential Dutchman, United’s minimum aim must be to qualify for the Champions League. Without it, United will always be swimming upstream in the market and struggles in the window may become an all too common occurrence.

The article Ten Hag hints at Frenkie de Jong contingency plan after admitting Man Utd business isn’t to his liking appeared first on Teamtalk.com.

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