Five alternatives to Frenkie de Jong for Manchester United
Frenkie de Jong does not appear desperate to play for Manchester United, with Fabrizio Romano reporting the Dutchman’s preference is to stay with Barcelona.
We said last week amid our ‘three reasons not to sign De Jong and three reasons for a move’ article, that a player not being willing to join Manchester United is a big red flag.
Naturally there will be some who require being talked into a move, or need to be reassured, amid the club’s latest managerial change and slumping into the Europa League spots. But at some stage, United need to walk away.
Alternatives to Frenkie de Jong
It makes a lot of sense for United to walk away from this deal, which may not be the wisest use of the club’s funds, with reinforcements needed in attack, defensive, and a more specific defensive midfielder.
Fortunately United have other options at this early stage of the transfer window, and there are various alternatives to Frenkie de Jong for the club to explore, one of who is free, and another who already plays for the club…
Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves is expected to leave and Sport link him with a move to Barcelona, yet this may not be possible without Frenkie de Jong’s sale.
The same report claims Neves would be keen on a move to Manchester United, with agent Jorge Mendes trying to secure him a big summer transfer. The Sun has previously reported United would be keen on Neves.
Neves would be a good fit for Manchester United, he is a strong tackler, and a creative passer, who likes to get on the ball and dictate games, also capable of chipping in with a spectacular goal.
Still only 25, Neves is not scheduled to play European football at all next season with Wolves, so the Europa League would be a step up in competition.
The MEN tipped Kalvin Phillips as Manchester United’s first signing under Erik ten Hag, although a deal could depend on Leeds’ battle with relegation.
Phillips is an England international who is comfortable in possession, linking midfield to defence and attack, and could be a great fit for how Erik ten Hag likes to set his team up.
It does feel like a long shot due to the rivalry between the two clubs, with a Leeds fan telling us a move would be ‘worse than Alan Smith’.
An increasingly tempting option for Manchester United is to make a move for free agent Christian Eriksen, who has been impressive for Brentford over the past few months.
Eriksen has been playing in a deeper midfield role, and Ten Hag has enjoyed some success at Ajax signing older players like Dusan Tadic and Daley Blind, to mix successfully with his younger stars.
The Dane is reported to be on United’s radar, via The Mail, and he could be a really good fit for this team over the next couple of seasons, still only 30.
A move for Eriksen also frees up funds to be spent elsewhere, to bring in an outright defensive midfielder and sign an expensive forward.
There will not be many better bargains on the transfer market this summer than Youri Tielemans, who has just one year remaining on his contract at Leicester City.
The Telegraph report Leicester are willing to cash in for just £25 million, cheaper than the £40 million they paid for him in 2019.
Tielemans would fulfill a similar type of role De Jong would at United, a box to box player who has caused us big problems in the past, including this season.
The Mail had reported Arsenal hoped to do a deal for Tielemans, but this now could fall through after their setback in finishing in the top four.
The left-field choice of an alternative to Frenkie de Jong, is for Erik ten Hag is to use his coaching skills and work with Dylan Levitt, a standout performer on loan this season, winning fans’ player of the year at Dundee United.
Levitt is a player who relishes possession of the ball, showing this on his one Manchester United appearance in which he made 104 passes, 67 of which were forward passes.
The past year has seen Levitt grow in stature, and the Wales international is a player Ten Hag could relish working with.
Like the Christian Eriksen option, putting trust in Levitt would enable Manchester United’s transfer funds to be directed elsewhere.