Manchester United have set their sights on a possible pursuit on Ajax defender Frenkie de Jong.
The Dutchman has been linked with a whole host of elite European clubs, and any move from Man United for the ball-playing centre-back will certainly be met with challenges from clubs including FC Barcelona.
Jose Mourinho’s side could also have to see off the threat of fellow Premier League clubs, too.
The Sun suggest that Man United sent scouts to watch De Jong in action for the Netherlands earlier this month when they faced France.
United’s Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward, who heads up the club’s transfer team, was wary of signing one of Mourinho’s summer targets, Toby Alderweireld, due to his age. The Tottenham Hotspur man is 29 and likely has a number of years at the top remaining, but Woodward was supposedly put off by that factor.
De Jong presents a far younger option. The Ajax man is eight years younger than Alderweireld. However, that means he’d cost United a lot more, especially due to interest from others, too.
The Sun states that a United club source said that “the club decided to take a look at him as they have been getting rave reviews from elsewhere.”
“Jose and the staff like the look of him. He can play in a few different roles and he looks comfortable wherever, which is a big plus.”
De Jong sounds like a potentially perfect target. His potential is enormous and if he’d please both Woodward and Mourinho, then that is a rare occurrence, but a good one.
Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City has both looked at De Jong, but Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur would likely be United’s biggest challengers. Given Spurs and Pochettino’s record with young players over the past few years, it’s possible that De Jong could prefer a move to London. That could see Alderweireld join United, a year after Woodward deemed him too old.
United need a new centre-back, but they need an experienced leader given they have two young full-backs in Dalot and Shaw and centre-backs in Lindelof and Bailly who would benefit from a strong defensive partner. Maybe De Jong would also need such a player.