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Frenkie de Jong would be a ‘great signing’ for Manchester United, Rio Ferdinand claims

By Harry Latham-Coyle
AFP via Getty Images

Rio Ferdinand believes that Frenkie de Jong would be a “great signing” for Manchester United after the midfielder was linked with a move to the club.

Having played for incoming United manager Erik ten Hag at Ajax, De Jong has been tipped as a likely target when the coach arrives at Old Trafford this summer.

The 25-year-old flourished under Ten Hag’s management in Amsterdam, evolving particularly into a controlling central midfielder as Ajax reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019.

That led to a summer move to Barcelona, and De Jong has since played more than 100 times for the club, starting 29 of his 32 La Liga appearances this season.

Though De Jong has said he is content in Catalonia, the chance to reunite with Ten Hag may appeal, and Ferdinand believes that the Netherlands international would mark an excellent piece of recruitment by his former club.

“I’ve always thought he was a top player,” Ferdinand said of De Jong on his FIVE YouTube channel. “They’re saying Frenkie de Jong could be the first player to come in under Erik ten Hag, and I would be saying: ‘Yes, great signing.’

“He’s not huge in terms of frame but he is quick with the ball, really good dribbler, can get out of tight situations, makes good decisions, good passer, his balance and dribbling ability are really good.

“[United] are a team who are looking for players who can control the ball and control the game and get the team functioning in terms of balance and possession, I think he would be a good addition.”

Ten Hag is expected to have former Middlesbrough, England and Newcastle manager Steve McClaren as part of his Manchester United staff.

McClaren previously spent two seasons as an assistant to Alex Ferguson at the club, winning the title in 2000 and 2001.

Mitchell van der Gaag, Ten Hag’s deputy at Ajax, is also expected to be confirmed as part of the staff.

With significant player turnover expected at Old Trafford this summer, Ferdinand thinks that De Jong’s familiarity with Ten Hag could be beneficial if he is signed.

“This season United are definitely losing Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, so United do need reinforcements and I think [De Jong] would be a fantastic signing if this deal goes ahead.

“His relationship with Ten Hag... he thrived under his management while he was at Ajax. For me he was the outstanding player in that team. He was integral in what they did. He’s been to a big club in Barcelona and done okay there.

“It’s hard to play under big expectations where you’ve got to win. He won’t have that pressure at Man United right now but he could be part of the rebuild under Ten Hag. It would be smart to bring in someone he knows and trusts and believes he can go on and do big things in a team he believes in.

“He’s not a player who scores loads of goals like Bruno Fernandes, but he’s more about dictating the game. He gives you much more other elements in the game that United need.”

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