Manchester United have been left red-faced after long-term target Frenkie de Jong was told by Liverpool icon Ryan Babel to snub a move to Old Trafford. And Babel has even claimed the Barcelona midfielder would be better off plying his trade for a club who play “proper football” as part of a cruel dig at the Red Devils.
“For Frenkie I would not recommend United in all honesty,” Babel told MyBettingSites. “At least not today. He needs a team that wants to play football, proper football on the ground. Yes, Man United has a coach that eventually if he has the right players can do that.
“They have so far have shown signs that Erik ten Hag knows what to do, but by far it is not the level as what he has done in Ajax. So for Frankie personally, if you go from Barcelona to United, I think that is a step down. In terms of technical aspects. I prefer to see him in a team like City, or even Arsenal as well.”
De Jong spent a year-and-a-half playing under Ten Hag at Ajax during the early days of his career. And the player was instrumental as the Dutch giants reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019, where they were heartbreakingly dumped out by eventual runners-up Tottenham. But the 25-year-old departed Holland to join Barcelona at the end of that campaign after winning the Dutch league and cup double.
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De Jong was tipped to become Ten Hag’s first signing at Old Trafford when the 52-year-old became boss in the summer, with United reportedly agreeing a transfer fee of £56.2million with the La Liga club. The waters were then muddied when Chelsea also came in for the ace. But he ultimately opted to stay at the Nou Camp.
De Jong was critical of the Barcelona board after details of his contract were leaked to a newspaper, however. And with Barca once again said to be putting pressure on the player to cut his salary, he could feel he has no option other than to seek a move away from Spain when the transfer window opens in January.