The Xavi revolution is underway in Barcelona, and the Spaniard seems keen to provide opportunities for young academic talent. Gavi, Pedri and Ansu Fati are three players they need to build around.
One player who could be sacrificed is Frenkie De Jong, according to reports in Spain.
Making a decision to leave De Jong would open places for academy players, while raising anything between £ 60-80 million for the cash club, crucial for a club looking to rebuild.
The beach bar report De Jong is ‘for sale’. This is a player that Manchester United have been interested in in the past, only to miss Barcelona.
The Sun and The MEN reported in 2018 how United were interested in a switch to the midfielder while he was at Ajax.
So the prospect of De Jong becoming available in 2021 should be a dream scenario given United’s midfield problems and the Dutchman’s ability to pass the ball and control play.
No matter how far away, if there is a chance to make a deal for De Jong, this is a path United should pursue.
The chances are better with a change of leadership
The reality is that Manchester United has a better chance of picking up Frenkie De Jong if Ole Gunnar Solskjær is fired.
De Jong are close friends with ex-teammate Donny van de Beek, who has played together at Ajax.
He even said he spoke to Van de Beek shortly before his transfer to United and described the transfer as a ‘beautiful transfer’, The Mirror reported.
Unfortunately, it has not worked out that way at all for Van de Beek, where the Dutchman only made four Premier League starts in two seasons.
Van de Beek has only played 15 minutes in the league this season, and The Telegraph reports that he is keen to leave the club in January if the situation continues.
A number of United players are said to feel misled by Solskjær over their prospects for playing time.
Alex Telles is another player signed by Solskjær, who is in this position, and although Jadon Sancho is not listed in that report, he was signed for a significant fee and has not been used properly.
These are problems that Solskjær must solve before United go in search of new faces in the transfer market.
When United pursue new signatures, players want to know they can trust what the manager tells them.
Van de Beek has even lost his place in the Dutch squad, at a critical time a year before the World Cup.
Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Jadon Sancho and Alex Telles have all been dropped from their international squads due to lack of use at club level.
The same situation will apply to the one United are chasing in January or next summer if Ole Gunnar Solskjær is still manager.
A switch to United will be an immediately risky proposition for players, rather than a way of locking themselves in an international place, as it once used to be.
De Jong is a particularly foresighted example because of his close relationship with Van de Beek.
United can move forward with a change of manager
Unfortunately, Solskjær has become a dark cloud that hangs over United’s recruitment policy for the coming windows, unless he can figure out a way to make his signings happy.
Not every signing can work, but in Van de Beek’s case, he has clearly not had a fair crack, and that is detrimental to United’s reputation.
He especially needs to get Jadon Sancho to play well and play regularly, after spending so much time pursuing him.
But United can get rid of the worries about new contracts by getting rid of Solskjær, a manager who has fought to balance his team efficiently and fairly.
It’s time for change at United and a new manager will have fresh ideas and a more convincing approach to new contracts as he will be able to distance himself from Van de Beek’s lack of use.
With a new boss at the helm, United might just have a chance to land De Jong.
And if the new manager happens to be former Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag, then United’s chances of acquiring the player will increase from ‘very unlikely’ to ‘very likely’.
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