De Jong? What for? Erik Ten Hag finds another playmaker for his Red Devils
By now the fact that Frenkie de Jong has absolutely no desire to leave FC Barcelona to join Manchester United has been well established. Despite months long negotiation between the clubs, all their compromises seem to have been for nothing as the Dutch midfielder refuses to consider the possibility of a move to Old Trafford. However, there could be some silver linings for Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag as despite his former protegee's refusal, he seems to have found a conductor for his orchestra: Fred.
Despite all the effort that has gone into making De Jong a Red Devil, it's now clear the Dutchman will have to be forced into the move for it to happen. With pre season in full swing and the role of the central midfielder such an important position, Ten Hag has been working on a "De Jong lite" option for his team, and he has found it already in his squad, with Brazilian Fred as the man to pull the strings for him.
Althoigh often a ridicule figure among Red Devils' fans, the Brazilian does have many qualities, and he has been showing them for Ten Hag. "In the moment [Fred] is playing in the role as connecter, defending to offence. He is playing the role quite well. I am satisfied with his performance, with his improvement. I think he can even be better. I will support him in that. He also brings energy in the team by his attitude", commented the former Ajax manager recently, and his words are sure to be casting doubt on Manchester United as to why spend 70 million euros on a player that does not want to play for them.
With Ten Hag recently commenting that, should he not have the option to buy his playmaker, he'd be more than willing to develop one of the players currently at his disposal, one has to wonder if this isn't him already finding that player. "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. We need the right player", were the Dutch coach words at the time.
On the other side of the coin, you have to consider where does this leave Barcelona and De Jong. The club was more than likely counting on the massive transfer fee the Dutchman was set to bring, and the saving in wages his departure would make them, and if United aren't interested their plans could be thwarted.
For Frenkie De Jong, staying in Barcelona has never been an issue, but his agent has spoken against the wages reduction the club has asked him to take, and it might leave him stranded from the rest of the squad should he continue to refuse. One of the transfer sagas of the summer could be brought down by none other than Fred.
Continue reading: PLAN B: Barça working on ALTERNATIVE to the Koundé deal