Manchester United are set to have their worst season in Premier League in history – but the bright side is that an overhaul is on the way.
Incoming coach Erik ten Hag finds himself with a huge rebuilding job on his hands, with a host of players set to leave this summer.
Ten Hag sealed the Eredivisie title with Ajax on Wednesday but the Dutchman clearly has one eye on events in Manchester.
Frenkie de Jong is reportedly close to agreeing a switch from Barcelona to United and could be one of a host of signings.
De Jong made his name under the guidance of Ten Hag in Amsterdam and featured prominently in the Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-final in 2019, eventually losing to Tottenham Hotspur.
The 25-year-old midfielder moved to Barcelona for £65million shortly after the Champions League disappointment.
But new Barcelona coach Xavi has indicated that teenage sensations Pedri and Gavi are the future of Barcelona’s midfield leaving the talented Dutchman with a decision to make about his future.
A move for De Jong would be a sensible piece of business for United and one that would point to a much-needed change in transfer policy.
The Barcelona man would provide a forward thinking approach in midfield with excellent technique and a good range of passing.
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This season, De Jong has amassed four goals and five assists in 45 games for a Barcelona side that struggled to adapt to the departure of Lionel Messi in the first half of the season.
With Paul Pogba looking likely to depart Old Trafford at the end of the season, De Jong provides a younger, fresher replacement for the Frenchman who has endured an injury-plagued second spell at United.
Also exiting the Theatre of Dreams this summer are Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic, leaving United with limited numbers in midfield.
Reports in Italy suggest United have also been monitoring Lazio’s towering midfield star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
Lazio President Claudio Lolito this week opened the door to a move claiming the player would be consulted on what he wanted to do, should there be ‘an important proposal from a world-class club’.
The Serbian International has had a fine season in the Eternal City registering 10 goals and 11 assists in 35 games as Lazio close in on qualification for next season’s Europa League.
The possible acquisitions of Milinkovic-Savic and De Jong would act as statement signings and ones that could help lift the doom and gloom around Old Trafford.
It would also show that United still have pulling power despite currently being light-years away from rivals Manchester City and Liverpool and having no Champions League football to offer next season.
United fans are desperately looking for a beacon of light ahead of next season and the addition of both players would ease the disappointment of losing World Cup winner Pogba.
The 20-times league champions have struggled to fine tune their midfield in recent years but Ten Hag could solve the club’s long-standing problem in one transfer window, should both players put pen to paper.
De Jong could provide the perfect foil for the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes, the same way he did for Lionel Messi during his final years at the Nou Camp.
Milinkovic-Savic would add power, aerial threat and a keen eye for goal, replacing compatriot Matic whilst offering a whole lot more too.
United have missed a physical presence in midfield and a player that can dominate in advanced areas whilst being defensively capable.
How Man United could look next season
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