Manchester United ‘convinced’ they’re going to add a leader to Erik ten Hag’s squad

Stam urges Man Utd board to back Ten Hag as rebuild begins

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Manchester United are convinced Frenkie de Jong can be a leader for the team under Erik ten Hag, reports say. The Barcelona star appears to be the club’s top transfer target as they look to win the Premier League next term. However, any move to Old Trafford is neither imminent nor straightforward at the current moment in time.

Manchester United want to sign a new midfielder this summer, with Nemanja Matic’s exit already confirmed and Paul Pogba destined to follow him out of the door.

And links to De Jong have intensified in recent hours, with the Barcelona star facing an uncertain future at the Nou Camp.

United, according to Sport, are probing the 25-year-old’s situation ahead of a potential reunion with Ten Hag in this summer’s transfer window.

The duo previously worked together at Ajax, helping them reach the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019.

And the publication says United believe De Jong can be a ‘leader’ under Ten Hag as they look to secure his signature.

Barcelona, for their part, are reluctant to let the Netherlands international leave despite his inconsistent form this term.

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But they’ve made it known they’re willing to talk about a potential sale if the price is right for them.

Ten Hag was promised by the United board that they’d give him the backing he wants in order to secure trophies.

And De Jong is a top priority for the 52-year-old, who will leave Ajax on a high after winning the Eredivisie title on Wednesday night.

What is worth noting, however, is the stance of the player himself.

De Jong still believes he can be a huge asset to Barcelona, despite struggling for consistency under Xavi, Ronald Koeman, Quique Setien and Ernesto Valverde.

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And he also feels a move to United could be a gamble because he wouldn’t be playing in the Champions League.

De Jong is aware that Barcelona need to make a big sale this summer in order to balance their finances, however.

And there’s said to be ‘maximum secrecy’ surrounding this situation at present, with all parties keeping their cards close to their chest.

As well as United, Manchester City are also eyeing De Jong.

They’ll need a new midfield anchorman this summer after it was confirmed Fernandinho would be leaving as a free agent come the end of the campaign.

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And Bayern Munich are also in the mix, though the Bundesliga giants are hoping to sort out the future of Robert Lewandowski first.

Eight players have represented both United and Barcelona over the years, meanwhile.

Mark Hughes, Laurent Blanc, Jordi Cruyff, Henrik Larsson and Gerard Pique experienced life at both teams when Sir Alex Ferguson was manager of the Red Devils.

And Victor Valdes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexis Sanchez are also part of that group.

Meanwhile, former United star Peter Schmeichel recently opened up on Ten Hag.

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And he feels the 52-year-old can be a big hit at Old Trafford, saying: “It’s a decision that’s been made and I think that’s very, very positive.

“There are, and I think it’s obvious to everyone, so many things that need to be done at Manchester United.

“The whole football department needs to be restructured. The way we are thinking about how things are supposed to be done, everything needs a bit of a rethink. Announcing the manager is a decision that needed to be made.

“It’s a step in the right direction but, If I’m honest, it could be him or it could be literally anyone. It’s such a big job so everything would be a bit of a gamble.

“I wish him all the best and hope he can help in the process of rebuilding Manchester United.”

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