It could be a tricky job trying to lure Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United this summer.
The Red Devils are not the force they once were, and are facing another season out of the Champions League after a dire 2021/22 campaign.
Still, Erik ten Hag is now set to come in as the new Man Utd manager, so there will no doubt be some optimism about a fresh start at Old Trafford.
New signings will still be vital, however, and former United midfielder Luke Chadwick admits he’s slightly concerned about the lack of options out there in the transfer market to help Ten Hag strengthen in midfield.
Speaking to CaughtOffside, Chadwick explained how Ten Hag could try to persuade De Jong to link up with him again in Manchester, whilst also expressing some concern about allowing Nemanja Matic to leave at the end of his contract.
“Without a shadow of a doubt the club have to strengthen in that position. Matic is gone and I think if the recruitment team weren’t confident of getting someone in then he might have stayed. The Pogba situation panned out as it did and I think it’s for the best for everyone that he moves on to pastures new,” Chadwick said.
“In terms of targets, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips are obviously main-stays in the England team, they were fantastic at the Euros last summer, but Rice now looks like staying at West Ham, while with Phillips there’s the rivalry between Leeds and Man United.
“It doesn’t look like there’s a huge amount of options left out there. Youri Tielemans could be good, he’s been linked with a few clubs and it looks like the right time for him to move on from Leicester. But I don’t think there’s really anyone who stands out, as such, so it’s up to the recruitment team to find someone who can maybe surprise us a bit.
“You look at the Liverpool recruitment, that’s the model to follow. There’s not a world class player that springs to mind, so you’d hope the club have something in order and discussions are taking place to pull a Fabinho-like signing out of the fire.
“You do sort of wonder why Matic wasn’t kept for another season. He’s been a good squad player. Fred and McTominay have been fine in those positions but they’re not a partnership you can see challenging Manchester City and Liverpool next season.
“With De Jong, I think Ten Hag can try to sell a move to him. They’ve got a good history together at Ajax.
“Obviously players are no longer biting your hand off to come to United, and it makes it harder if you’re not in the Champions League. The project could be a selling point, though, with a new start under Ten Hag and the vision he has for the team.
“He’s had success with De Jong in the past and that could be what makes it possible to get that deal over the line. You sort of get the impression Barcelona wouldn’t be too heartbroken if De Jong did go, so that might play on his mind as well, as he’d be going to the club that are desperate to get him in. Ten Hag would be bringing in a player he really wants to work with and who he knows how to get the best out of.”