Man Utd warned Frenkie de Jong will not solve midfield problem despite big-money fee

ten Hag: No 'risk' to come to Manchester United

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Craig Burley has warned Manchester United that signing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong will not solve their problems in midfield. Erik ten Hag’s club are reportedly closing in on the Dutch midfielder as Barca look to raise funds in their pursuit of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.

Despite preparing to pay a fee of up to £70million for the former Ajax man, Burley does not believe he will solve United’s midfield problems by himself. “No, not one player,” The former Chelsea man told ESPN. “[Scott] McTominay is just a big, strong up-and-downer, [Nemanja] Matic is gone, [Paul] Pogba is gone, I am not Fred’s biggest fan I have to tell you, so no it’s just one player. One player is not solving that whole problem no.”

United have let midfielders Pogba, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard leave the club on free transfers, with the quartet all officially departing at the end of the month when their contracts expire. De Jong initially wanted to remain at the Nou Camp, but the Spanish giants’ desire to sell has made the idea of joining his former Ajax manager at Old Trafford a more attractive proposition. United will reportedly pay an initial £60m for the playmaker, with a further £10m in instalments throughout De Jong’s contract.

Ten Hag’s personal message to De Jong was thought to have been a key contributing factor to the 25-year-old’s change of heart, with the Dutch manager telling De Jong that he is “planning to bring the good times back” to United. The midfielder could be United’s first transfer of the summer once he returns from international duty, as they look to have missed out on Benfica striker Darwin Nunez. The 22-year-old Uruguayan was strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford but appears to favour a move to rivals Liverpool as a replacement for Sadio Mane.

De Jong did publicly state his desire to stay in Barcelona however earlier this month. “I have enough confidence in myself [to be a success at Barcelona]. I am not afraid,” he said. “I recently spoke extensively with the trainer [Xavi]. That was a very good conversation.

“I will not go into that [the links to United]. Not even about other names or clubs. I used to be naive and open-minded about it. I don’t do that anymore. I understand that that link is made.

“That sum is not that difficult, it is logical. I have enjoyed working with Ten Hag at Ajax – and I can’t look into the future, of course. But I prefer to stay at Barcelona.”

He was asked again about his future during international duty on Saturday, following the Netherlands’ draw with Poland, and replied: “I can’t say anything.”

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