Frenkie de Jong has already told Manchester United his best position amid transfer links
Manchester United are mulling over the prospect of launching a big-money move to bring Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong to Old Trafford this summer.
The Manchester Evening News understands that United are weighing up a potential £75million move for the Netherlands international as incoming manager Erik ten Hag prepares to make his mark. The duo worked together at Ajax and know each other inside out.
United are in desperate need of some new additions to their squad, particularly in midfield. Their current crop of midfielders have been criticised throughout the campaign and the importance of adding a new defensive-minded midfielder to the squad cannot be emphasised enough.
United are understood to be working on a deal to bring Leeds United and England ace Kalvin Phillips to Old Trafford. West Ham United star Declan Rice also continues to be linked with a move to Manchester, but West Ham's demands are likely to put United or any other suitor off.
In De Jong, though, United, should they sign him, would be securing a midfielder who is not renowned solely for his defensive contributions. He is a box-to-box midfielder that likes to get on the ball, pick a pass and create opportunities for his teammates.
It is why the Dutchman, earlier this year, addressed his preferred position. He said he believes that he is at his very best when he can often get on the ball and make things happen.
He told The Guardian : "I don't necessarily have one position where I really want to play, but I think I'm at my best if I'm in a role where I can often touch the ball."
Therefore, it is hard to predict how he could slot in and prove his worth at Old Trafford, even though it remains impossible to say how Ten Hag will set United up. On the face of it, deploying a 4-3-3 could work best for De Jong, with him being given the license to roam free in midfield, should the club also sign a defensively-sound midfield operator.
Ten Hag, of course, knows everything there is to know about De Jong and his style of play following their time together at Ajax. The incoming United boss brought the very best out of the Dutchman and explained how he did so when the Barcelona man was still plying his trade in Amsterdam.
Ten Hag, as quoted by UEFA.com, said: "He is always calm and always has the solution. He scans so well that he always knows how to go forward. You can hardly put him under pressure – that is such a great gift."
In a separate interview, Ten Hag told Trouw: "The quality of your players decide how you will play, and with what system. We had to find a way to make Frenkie function in the best possible way.
"You saw his incredible talent, but where do we have to use him to get the best out of him and his talent? Eventually, I decided to play with two 'No.6 players' on the pitch. Once I did this you saw how much better he became on the pitch, and how much better he made the whole team play and especially the attackers."