Man Utd could seal ETH’s dream move in£73.5m ace who’s already been “unreal” in Qatar

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Manchester United spent much of the recent transfer window chasing Barcelona midfielder, Frenkie de Jong, with incoming boss Erik ten Hag having seemingly been hellbent on reuniting with his compatriot at Old Trafford, following their previous Ajax connections.

Even before the 2021/22 campaign was out there had been reports that the playmaker would be a top target for the Red Devils heading into the summer, with Ten Hag plotting something of a squad overhaul in his attempt to spark a revival at the sleeping giant.

Despite striking an agreement with the La Liga side for a reported fee of €85m (£73.5m), no such move came to fruition, with the 25-year-old’s apparent reluctance to make the switch seemingly holding up proceedings, due to apparent concerns over a number of issues at the Theatre of Dreams, including the lack of Champions League football.

While the Catalan outfit had seemingly been keen to part ways with the 46-cap sensation due to their ongoing financial crisis, De Jong stayed put at Camp Nou beyond deadline day, having since gone on to remain a feature of Xavi’s side – making 17 appearances so far this season.

The protracted nature of that summer saga and the player’s lack of enthusiasm over moving to Manchester has potentially seen some hope that will be the end of United’s pursuit, having been left somewhat humiliated by that failure to get a deal done.

Equally, amid the ongoing turmoil surrounding wantaway striker Cristiano Ronaldo, a new centre-forward addition may well be the priority as far as some are concerned, particularly with free transfer arrival Christian Eriksen having blossomed in a deep-lying midfield role of late, having been dubbed “magnificent” by his manager.

That being said, however, witnessing De Jong in action for his country earlier this week has served as a reminder as to why Ten Hag and co were so keen to get a deal done, with the Netherlands international having pulled the strings in the centre of the park in his nation’s victory over Senegal in their opening World Cupgroup game.

As ITV commentator Jon Champion stated (21/11/2022), the one-time Willem II man simply makes the game “look easy” at times with his quality and composure in possession, notably picking out another Man United target in Cody Gakpo with a sumptuous dinked pass to help fire Louis van Gaal’s side ahead.

That “unreal” performance – as described by one footballer – saw the 5 foot 11 genius record two key passes from his 81 touches, while also showcasing his perhaps unsung defensive quality after winning eight of his ten total duels.

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