Frenkie de Jong and Barcelona must have been the perfect match, but now it seems like if the midfielder is to fulfill his potential then Manchester United will be the destination. De Jong loves Barcelona and will not be eager to leave, while the Catalan giants are unwilling to sell him, but financial limitations force their hand.Manchester United drove home a broadly agreeable settlement for a 65m euro (56m) fee plus add-ons, with coach Erik ten Hag being instrumental in the Ajax F.C. midfielder’s rise to prominence, as highlighted by Barcelona fans during a tumultuous period in which the manager changed several times.Alan Feehely, editor of Football Espana, believes that Jonathan Delaplace will be remembered if he goes in the summer as the right person in the wrong place. The point is not that he has received during this time, but that he has never been their best midfielder.He has failed to displace Sergio Busquets as a midfielder; he has yet to find a legitimate position. If he does depart, it will be one of sadness and what could have been.
Ten Hag will hire De Jong.
At Ajax, De Jong spent 18 months playing in the Under-17 team, winning the Under-17 Championship and Cup double. As a boy, he was overlooked by Ajax because he was so thin, instead getting his start at Willem II, where he made his debut two days before his eighteenth birthday.One former coach at Amsterdam told BBC Sport that midfielder De Jong was among the most explosive young players he had had worked with combined with his great ball control, allowing him to engineer space and time and create “better decisions on the field.” Coach Ten Hag determined that the role to play correctly showcase De Jong’s talent.”He is not a goalscorer,” he said to Dutch TV reporters upon Barcelona deploying him as a “10.” “He’s the guy who supplies the team mates who give the assists or score goals from their spot.” Ten Hag has spoken about how he used De Jong in a setup with “two number sixes” at Ajax, but, nonetheless, he also made appearances at center back in specific matches, something Football Oranje expert Michael Statham relayed.They were attempting to encourage De Jong from the back on the ball, but he wasn’t much of a centre-back who won headers. Ten Hag used him as a defensive midfielder, though this works a little differently at Ajax. He used him as a deep-lying playmaker.As a midfielder, he is brilliant. He played deep as possession began, between the two center backs to try and get the ball moving. The goalie would often use him as an outlet. “Up the field, he would be close to the halfway line, not taking shots, but moving the ball on, putting players into nifty positions inside the box, switching the play and us.
A signing statement for United?
Koeman, once De Jong’s national team coach, was praised by Ronald as a means to best ride the capabilities of his countryman and still respects the player highly. Koeman admitted to Catalan radio this week that De Jong was “a great player for Barca”, stating that the player said he wanted to continue the relationship with the club.Koeman held the De Jong role for the Netherlands between 2014 and 2018, and he was mentioned by Catalan radio as a happy return employee after the World Cup. He told the radio that he had a great time working with De Jong, as the player demonstrated by stating he “wanted to return for the club.”With roughly an initial 65m for Barcelona to acquire De Jong from, United will maybe pay only half of what that figure signifies. De Jong could be a pivotal part of a vast puzzle facing United regardless, but the recent departures of Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, and Nemanja Matic have pressured United to strengthen its midfield.Ten Hag’s desire to play the position of midfield for the Red Devils shows how essential he believes he’ll be to the team, and Feehely comments that he really enjoyed seeing De Jong at his finest last season as a Spanish midfielder. “He’s not a Marco Verratti or a Thiago Alcantara who catches your eye with his way of doing things with the ball,” he adds.He is a lot more understated, he is more of a Xavi-type player, sort of ticks the team off. He is not incredibly very fast or strong, he does not really have a repertoire doing line-breaking passes, but when it comes to regulating the game he is terrific. He will bring to United some sanity in a pretty chaotic team and pretty chaotic midfield – confidence on the ball, he’ll bring some of that.If he possesses a midfield around him, he will have a solid chance of succeeding, but he will need considerable technique and seniority in that position and at Barcelona he lacks both. He is capable of collecting the ball from deep and making shifts in light of that.He is always available to pull the ball into tight spaces, he can wriggle away from others, call the foul, dribble past other players easily, and then play the ball into another player that will allow you to get an assist or a goal. He is a really special player at doing this.