Manchester United want to sign a midfielder this summer. And it has turned out that Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong is their number 1 target while Erik ten Hag seems to be making his mark. Compared to Wesley Sneijder, the Red Devils can finally make up for not landing the Dutch international in Sir Alex Ferguson’s time.
A deal for De Jong will not be easy for United to strike.
They will have to do without Champions League football as they failed to qualify for the competition for the fourth time in nine years.
De Jong is happy to stay at Barcelona, having returned with great expectations from Ajax in the summer transfer window of 2019.
And if he was forced to leave, he’d rather join a team with a winning project. Manchester City and Bayern Munich in particular have also been linked.
But that doesn’t stop United and Ten Hag from dreaming of a sensational transfer to Old Trafford.
The Red Devils have seen many Dutch players flourish at the club, from Ruud van Nistelrooy to Robin van Persie, Edwin van der Sar to Daley Blind.
Erik ten Hag: Man Utd’s 25-man squad for next season with six signings
But one player who got away from the Red Devils earlier was Sneijder, who Ferguson wanted to sign during his tenure.
In 2010, reports came out that the Dutchman would get close to the club after being stunned for Inter Milan in Serie A.
Still, United eventually missed the mark and instead settled for David De Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young.
De Jong has been compared to Sneijder and United can now make up for that mistake.
Speaking in 2019, former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas said the 25-year-old had similarities with Sneijder and Rafael Van der Vaart.
“De Jong has that technique, just like players in the class of Van der Vaart and Sneijder,” he said.
Ten Hag’s 10 transfer goals at Man Utd explained
Antony’s comments suggest a reunion of Ten Hag at Man Utd is possible
Man Utd have five players who could be great under Ten Hag
“He’s one of those players who controls the ball and has that classic Dutch style.”
How United needs a controller in the middle of the park.
None of their current midfielders can dictate the game, with their talents better in other divisions instead.
And by the time the transfer window opens again, United may not have much left in midfield.
Paul Pogba is set to leave, with the French international linked with Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Manchester City.
DO YOU THINK YOU CAN DO SPORT? Test your sports knowledge with our tricky quiz
Nemanja Matic has already confirmed his last appearance at Old Trafford, with a reunion with Jose Mourinho at Roma on the agenda.
And Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard are destined to join the couple through the exit door as well.
If United sign De Jong, it would certainly be a statement.
Meanwhile, Ferguson shut down suggestions last year that United were ever on the cusp of getting a hold of Sneijder.
“Well, you’re talking about the boy Sneijder,” he told club media.
“That has often come up, but we were never interested in Sneijder. I don’t know where that came from, but you get a lot.
Want to stay informed of the latest football news? Join our brand new Facebook group by clicking here
“Every Sunday, in The People, when I first came, they were throwing names in all the time, you know.”
However, Sneijder himself said during his time at Galatasaray that he did have talks with Ferguson.
“We had some conversations with Alex Ferguson in 2010,” he said.
†[United] contacted the [Inter] after our treble season but too much money was asked. And I was also happy at Inter, so I decided to stay.
“Manchester United are a fantastic club and they continued to show interest after that year, but not as determined as before.
“I don’t think much about proposed transfers. If I’m happy somewhere, I’m happy there.”