Manchester United fans want the club to make a move for Ruben Neves should they fail to sign Frenkie de Jong.
Excitement for Erik ten Hag’s imminent arrival as the next United manager has increased this week as it emerged that the Dutchman is keen on reuniting with his former midfielder at Old Trafford. MEN Sports understands that United are weighing up a £75million move for De Jong this summer.
Though reports of a deal being close are wide of the mark, United have made contact with the Catalan club to gauge the 25-year-old’s availability. There is a feeling that, although he would prefer to stay at Camp Nou, De Jong may be forced out of Barca this summer.
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Barcelona’s dire financial situation means if they are to make any signings of their own they will have to raise funds through player sales, with De Jong being one of their few expendable assets who would still fetch a high price. The emergence of midfield prodigies Pedri and Gavi has made it an even more attractive prospect.
The allure of working with Ten Hag again, after the pair enjoyed so much success in Amsterdam, may be tempting for De Jong and United could certainly pay Barca’s asking price, but a deal still appears difficult to pull off. De Jong isn’t exactly forcing his way out of Spain and if he must depart he would likely want to remain at a Champions League level club.
Additionally, there are likely to be plenty of sides who have qualified for Europe’s top competition who would be interested in signing the Dutchman, with neighbors Manchester City at a possible destination. It’s a shame as De Jong would be the perfect signing to get Ten Hag’s reign off to a flying start but the harsh reality is that it appears unlikely.
United still need to sign a new midfielder this summer, though, preferably two. Their options in the middle of the park are already meagre as it is and they will only get more so following the conclusion of the season when Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic depart.
United supporters have told the club that Wolves star Neves should be their backup option. MEN Sports asked fans: “Which midfielder should Manchester United try to sign if they fail in their pursuit of Frenkie de Jong?”
The narrow winner with 46 per cent of the 5,819 votes was Neves, who offers a similar level of controlled, elegant passing in the middle of the park. United experienced just how good the Portuguese is earlier this season when he played a key role in Wolves’ victory at Old Trafford.
In second place, with 31 per cent of the vote, was Borussia Dortmund teenager Jude Bellingham. United wanted to sign the 18-year-old when he first moved to Germany and would love to do so again. However, Dortmund are unlikely to let such an important player go in the same summer in which they lose Erling Haaland.
In third place came Leicester City’s dynamic Youri Tielemans with 15 per cent of the vote while the remaining 8 per cent opted for ‘other’. Players like Declan Rice, Aurelien Tchouameni, Wilfred Ndidi, Fabian Ruiz and Maxence Caqueret were all touted.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.