The Dutchman international was a top target for head coach Erik ten Hag when he first took over the dugout at Old Trafford in 2021, but despite the Catalans and the Red Devils agreeing to a deal, the move did not materialise. Ten Hag saw De Jong as the cornerstone of his blueprint for his first season in charge, while both worked together at Ajax, winning an Eredivisie title and KNVB Cup.
Casemiro was eventually signed as an alternative to De Jong from Real Madrid and played a crucial role for the club last term. Though with the Brazilian now 31 years old, it’s believed the club will look for younger talent. Casemiro is considered past his prime, and there are indications that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is eager to sell him this summer.
Reveloreports that Man Utd maintains a ‘special interest’ in De Jong and could pursue him in the upcoming months when the Premier League giants are thought to have a better chance of securing the 26-year-old.
The outlet states that De Jong is ‘unhappy’ with his current situation at Barcelona, having deferred the payment of his salary in the first three years of his contract to assist with the club’s financial challenges. Due to these financial issues, as well as the news of Xavi leaving in the summer, the midfielder could now depart. The Dutchman is allegedly frustrated with how his circumstances have been handled and is now more open to the idea of leaving. Naturally, plenty of Premier League clubs will now start to be linked to the playmaker.
Why De Jong should join Arsenal over Man Utd
SciSports shows that De Jong would be better served at Arsenal. Mikell Arteta’s side is traditionally associated with a possession-based, attractive style of football, which aligns with De Jong’s strengths as a technically gifted midfielder. His ball control and intricate passing, drop deep would compliment Declan Rice superbly, who likes to bomb up and down the pitch, as well as force turnovers.
Ten Hag likes to use a transition-based philosophy. But he’s had trouble implementing that into the club, with everything at Old Trafford being quite haphazard of late.
Furthermore, De Jong could be enticed by the project and long-term vision that Arsenal is building. The Gunners might present a more favorable situation in terms of immediate playing time, especially if they have a specific role carved out for him. At Man Utd, unless you’re Bruno Fernandes, regular playing time for a player is unheard of.
Not only this, but It’s clear to see which direction either club are going in – and Arsenal is the far more attractive option. Ineos’ takeover of Man Utd will take some time to bed in while Arsenal are a few stages ahead. De Jong will be looking to London as far more appealing than Manchester.