Frenkie de Jong: Manchester United midfield in need of upgrade to play Erik ten Hag’s way

In his first press convention as Manchester United supervisor, Erik ten Hag outlined his imaginative and prescient.

“The intention is to play fantastic football,” he stated. “The way we did it [at Ajax] – with dominant, dictating football – that is the way I want to act in Man Utd as well.”

But there was additionally the caveat.

“The competence and quality of the players decide how you have to play.”

If Ten Hag is to replicate the patterns, model and strategy he fostered to important acclaim at Ajax with Manchester United, then the sensation is there’ll need to be vital adjustments at Old Trafford.

During his tenure in Amsterdam, his Dutch facet managed possession and swarmed over opposition groups after they did not have the ball.

In distinction United have develop into the workforce too-often overwhelmed by opponents. Last season they had been continuously passive, unable to win or use the ball successfully sufficient as they slid to a disappointing sixth place.

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They had been additionally sixth in the standings when it got here to possession, passing accuracy and objectives from open play, indicative of their lack of authority in video games, in contrast to the league’s high sides.

Image:
Only 4 groups conceded extra objectives from open play in the Premier League final season, throughout a marketing campaign in which their midfield was criticised

They had the ball for simply 28 per cent of the time at Liverpool in April after managing simply 30 per cent possession in opposition to Man City in March. In truth, seven of Manchester United’s 10 lowest possession totals in the Premier League period have come in the previous three seasons.

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While there are main points to resolve at each ends of the pitch – seven groups out-scored them, solely 4 conceded extra from open play – it is clear a weak point in central midfield contributes to all of these issues.

“We know the areas they absolutely need to actually strengthen,” Gary Neville stated when requested by the official Man Utd web site for his views on their switch priorities this summer time. “Central midfield is an absolute necessity. An absolute necessity. Manchester United need midfield players.”

Scott McTominay and Fred have lengthy been criticised as not ok to run that space of the pitch. “As long as those two are playing in midfield for Man Utd they will not be winning big trophies,” Roy Keane instructed Sky Sports in May 2021. Now, with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic leaving the membership, an answer is desperately wanted.

Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong is a gorgeous possibility. The trendy midfielder does his finest work from deep, stepping previous challenges or threading a cross by the strains to transfer his workforce up the pitch.

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De Jong has a observe document of utilizing the ball higher than Man Utd's Scott McTominay and Fred

He not often provides the ball away. He had a 91 per cent passing price in La Liga final season and, in addition to that metric, additionally eclipsed McTominay and Fred in stats measuring dribble success, contact high quality and the way usually they’re dispossessed.

De Jong will not be the only real reply to United’s issues however he would deliver an upgrade to their central midfield division and unlock a way of taking part in Ten Hag needs.

There can also be the tempting chance of Ten Hag having the ability to rekindle the Ajax connection between De Jong and returning loanee Donny van de Beek.

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Dutch soccer journalist Marcel van der Kraan believes new Manchester United supervisor Erik ten Hag might be having a ‘horrible pre-season’ because the membership are but to add new faces for him.

Van de Beek has had a irritating time in English soccer to date. Four Premier League begins for United and 5 on mortgage at Everton is a mystifying return for a participant who so impressed, alongside De Jong, throughout Ajax’s run to the semi-finals of the Champions League simply three years in the past.

Perhaps De Jong’s arrival would supply a double enhance in central midfield, reigniting his compatriot’s Old Trafford profession, too.

United might definitely do with a significant uplift in that space of the park. Central midfield has been a key drawback for seasons – and discovering an enchancment might be important to Ten Hag’s hopes of delivering the model of soccer he needs at Old Trafford.

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