New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has ‘made clear’ that his two priority transfer targets in this summer window are Frenkie de Jong and Christian Eriksen.
An extensive report in De Telegraaf claims that both former Ajax stars are at the very top of Ten Hag’s wish-list this summer and are fundamental to his new project at Old Trafford. The new United coach has explained to the club’s board that each midfielder is crucial to his style of play and has instructed them to secure their dealings.
Barcelona midfielder De Jong is a top transfer priority for Ten Hag and there has been a phone call between the two already held in which the coach outlined the role the player would enjoy under him, as part of a charm offensive to land the player. Reports this weekend outlined how the midfielder has already cleared out his locker at Barca with a move appearing to edge closer.
De Jong is said to have been assured by the new United boss over the call that the entire team would revolve around him and that he would be the major reference point in midfield. He would be the ‘conductor of the orchestra’ and would be an undisputed starter under Ten Hag – a similar role which he enjoyed so much at Ajax.
Danish playmaker Eriksen is available on a free transfer and United are believed to have this week tabled an offer. However, the former Tottenham ace has proposals from Brentford – where he shone throughout the second half of last season after recovering from the cardiac arrest which he suffered during last summer’s European Championship – and his former club, Spurs, both options which would allow Eriksen and his family to remain in London. However, it is an offer to join Ten Hag’s United revolution that is arguably the most intriguing.
Journalist Marcel van der Kraan has already affirmed how important Ten Hag’s first two signings are to his immediate plans at United. “Erik ten Hag doesn’t want any other players apart from those two first [De Jong and Eriksen],” Van der Kraan declared on Sky Sports. “Ten Hag says he’s seen the style of Barcelona and Ajax – if you want to play a certain attacking style, then you need Frenkie.”
United are in desperate need of midfield reinforcements this summer after the departure of six players at the end of their contracts. Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani and Lee Grant have all departed the club while no players have arrived at Old Trafford since the close of the season.
That has left only Donny van de Beek (returning from a loan spell at Everton ), Fred and Scott McTominay as the senior central midfielders in United’s squad. Andreas Pereira – who is expected to be sold this summer on a permanent basis and James Garner – who may once again be loaned out – will join United’s pre-season following loan spells away.