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Manchester United report: Ralf Rangnick closes in on sensational move for Frenkie De Jong

Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong
(Image credit: PA)

Manchester United are planning a swoop for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong.

That's according to reports from El Nacional, which suggest that new interim manager Ralf Rangnick is an admirer of the Dutch midfielder - and would like him to strengthen the Red Devils' midfield.

De Jong rose to stardom during a golden era for Ajax, in which Matthijs De Ligt, Hakim Ziyech and current United midfielder Donny van de Beek all led the Amsterdam outfit to the Champions League semi-finals. Since joining Barca for over £60m, however, the 24-year-old has struggled to continue his development.

Though he was expected to assume Sergio Busquets' role for Barca, De Jong has plateaued. He's found himself playing alongside the veteran cruncher most often and has failed to rise above the club's general malaise.

With new boss Xavi apparently more keen on La Masia stars Gavi and Nico Gonzalez for his midfield, De Jong could become surplus to requirements.

United, meanwhile, are keen to restructure their midfield. 

Rangnick has already identified Amadou Haidara of RB Leipzig as a potential all-action midfielder for his side, having known the player from his Red Bull connections. Coupling the Malian midfielder with De Jong would give United renewed vigour in the centre of the park, with plenty of defensive cover.

While not an obvious weakness at Old Trafford, De Jong's ball-carrying ability and ease with which he can beat a press in his own half is particularly impressive - and the Dutchman could well thrive in the high-tempo arena of Premier League football.

Furthermore, the renaissance of Fred into a box-to-box threat for the Red Devils means that De Jong might be paired with the Brazilian in midfield for Rangnick.

Barcelona are strapped for cash and may be tempted to sell the ex-Ajax man for slightly less than they paid for him. United, meanwhile, may wish to wait until the summer - though De Jong has also been touted for moves to Liverpool and Arsenal.

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Mark White

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. He is a keen player of the Football Manager series and creates Twitter accounts for his Fantasy Premier League team every year, before losing interest in his team every September.