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Erik ten Hag finally opens up on Frenkie de Jong’s failed transfer to Manchester United



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Credit: YouTube / Sky Sports

When Erik ten Hag signed for Manchester United in April, many were excited at the prospect of a radically different style of football that may be played at Old Trafford.

Erik ten Hag‘s first summer in charge saw the Dutch manager bring in a whole new host of faces to Manchester United, with Lisandro Martínez, Antony, Casemiro, and Tyrell Malacia among those who signed in the 2022 summer transfer window.

However, the name that was linked to the club the most did not step through the doors at Carrington: Frenkie de Jong.

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It was no secret that Ten Hag wanted the Dutch midfielder to join him at United after managing the now 26-year-old during his breakthrough years at Juventus. Ten Hag has revealed that recruitment has been a huge reason for his failure to replicate the same football at United as he had at Ajax.

Speaking to Gary Neville and Sky Sports, Ten Hag was asked why he feels he cannot play his Ajax-style football at United. The manager explained that he does not have the right players.

“Because then you have to bring in (the right) players,” Ten Hag said, rather bluntly. “You need the player with those typical assets, and you can’t bring a player, say, here who has a (different) typical style of play; I don’t want to change his nature.”

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Neville then questioned Ten Hag more specifically on De Jong, asking the manager if he believed De Jong would have allowed him to play his “Ajax style” football had he signed for the club in 2022.

“Ah, that would have been… they would have really been connected with each other,” Ten Hag admitted with a wry smile on his face.

“They would have been really complimentary with each other, absolutely. That is a typical player if you want to play the Ajax style – you need that type of player.”

During the summer of 2022, United went as far as agreeing a total fee of around £80 million with Barcelona for the Netherlands international, but he refused a transfer as he wanted to stay with the Catalan club.