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Man Utd identify Frenkie de Jong as priority summer target

Manchester United have identified Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong as a priority target for the summer, a report from Sport claims.

The Red Devils are set for a huge rebuild during the next transfer window, and part of the focus could be on the midfield department.

Nemanja Matic has confirmed that he will part ways at the end of the season while Paul Pogba could also leave when his deal expires in June.

This could pave the way for a couple of midfield signings. Sport claims that the Red Devils have their sights on pursuing De Jong from Barcelona.

The Catalan giants are not looking to sanction his exit, but it is reported that they require a big sale to balance their financial books before June 30.

De Jong is presently content at the club, but it is claimed that United’s appointment of Ajax boss Erik ten Hag could lure him to Old Trafford.

Ten Hag will be handed a massive transfer budget of €250 million this summer, but it won’t be easy to prise De Jong away from Barcelona.

Barcelona signed him from Ajax for €75m plus €11m in add-ons in 2019. United need to make an offer more than that figure to test their resolve.

Our view:

With Ten Hag’s arrival, United have been touted to sign ‘more technical players’. De Jong would be an ideal fit at the heart of the midfield, having worked under Ten Hag at Ajax.

The Netherlands international has averaged one tackle per game this term, but he is more known for his strong concentration and distribution from the centre of the park.

The 24-year-old has completed 91 per cent of his passes this season with an average of 1.7 take-ons. He has also come up with nine goal contributions in his 42 appearances.

He has the attributes that suit Ten Hag’s philosophy. The Dutch tactician likes to play an attacking brand of football with midfielders that can regularly press opponents.

United need to pay a premium fee for his services, and it won’t be a surprise if the Blaugrana look for €100m. They should still afford him with a big spending spree planned.

A new defensive midfielder is one of the main targets for Ten Hag, but a new centre-forward could also be prioritised amid the shortcomings during the ongoing campaign.

United have struggled to score consistently this term. Ronaldo has netted 21 goals, but no one else has touched double figures. Bruno Fernandes is the second-best with nine goals.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com and WhoScored.com

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