Erik ten Hag thinks Frenkie de Jong will choose to join Manchester United instead of Chelsea, according to reports. The Barcelona star’s long-term future at the Nou Camp is up in the air, particularly after he was benched for Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Rayo Vallecano. And though he’d love to stay at the Nou Camp, it’s still possible he’ll depart instead.
Manchester United have spent over 13 weeks pursuing De Jong.
The 25-year-old previously worked under Ten Hag at Ajax and the new Red Devils boss feels his former midfielder can shine in the middle of the park – particularly following the departures of the likes of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.
In recent days, however, Chelsea have registered their own interest in De Jong.
They can offer the player the opportunity to live in London, while he’d also be able to play in the Champions League if he swapped the Nou Camp for Stamford Bridge.
That’s something United can’t, having finished sixth in the Premier League table last term.
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And the Red Devils also want to make two more signings before the transfer window slams shut on September 1.
United are keen on landing Adrien Rabiot from Juventus, despite a backlash from underwhelmed supporters on social media.
They’ve agreed an initial £15m fee for the France international, who has just a year left on his contract over in Turin.
And though John Murtough recently left a meeting with Rabiot’s mother Veronique without an agreement on personal terms, the club are still confident of getting a deal done.
A second late signing the Red Devils want to make is up top.
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Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford have all endured slow starts to the new campaign, failing to find the net against Brighton and Brentford so far.
And it’s stated United would love to bring in Cody Gakpo, who scored 12 goals and clocked up 13 assists from 27 Eredivisie matches last term.
Whether the club are able to bring in any of their top targets by the end of the month is something only time will tell.
Yet United legend Rio Ferdinand, speaking after Saturday’s shambolic 4-0 loss to Brentford, believes Ten Hag has been lured to the club under false pretences.
“I don’t feel sorry for the players, I feel sorry for Ten Hag,” he said.
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“He’s coming under false pretences. He’s coming expected new signings. He’s probably sitting there thinking ‘I’ve been sold a dummy here. I didn’t know I was coming into this’. Confidence, I know, was going to be low.
“He knew that but he thought ‘I’ll be able to rebuild that,’ but obviously the players are not at the standard required. Simple as that.”
Ten Hag himself said after the game that United let their supporters down.
“It is difficult for me,” he said. “It is always a surprise when you start a game like this. After 35 minutes we conceded four goals. This is not possible.
“The team has to take the responsibility, I feel really sorry for the fans who did everything to support us, we let them down.”
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