Manchester United’s relentless pursuit for a humble player in Frenkie De Jong shows the club are heading in the right direction under Erik ten Hag
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Frenkie de Jong’s “humble” reaction to being given a Mercedes has told Manchester United everything they need to know as they continue pressing for a transfer.
United are working hard to land the Barcelona star this summer as he is regarded as a top priority for Erik ten Hag, who worked with the midfielder at Ajax and is a known admirer of his talents. While Barca are willing to listen to offers for their player, one thing standing in the way of De Jong’s switch to Old Trafford is the fee.
The Spanish giants recently rejected an opening offer of £ 51.3million plus a potential £ 8.5m in add-ons, but are set to improve their offer and put forward a bid of £ 60m to tempt the struggling club, who need to sell in order to bolster their ranks.
Ten Hag is desperate for a reunion with the playmaker as he continues to build his own squad at Old Trafford. The Dutch boss is very familiar with the humble person behind the player, who once felt “embarrassed” after being given a Mercedes upon his arrival at Ajax.
“That mindset is probably why he joined Ajax,” his father John said back in 2019. “After signing a contract in Amsterdam, he got a Mercedes from the club. ‘But when he showed it, he felt embarrassed’. I call him Scrooge McDuck sometimes.He earns a lot, but rarely spends.
“When he had won a trophy and went to visit grandpa and grandma, he left the trophy in the car. He thought it was too ‘showy.’ No prima donna attitude, only a helpful human being.
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“He just signed his contract and asked me: do you want a new car? I did not want to, because I drive a Suzuki and it’s top, but he did give me and his mother a little envelope. It was a wonderful moment “He lives on himself right now and has bought a house in Amsterdam with his girlfriend. When he has some free time, he comes over.”
Over recent years, United spent £ 1billion on transfers but even those signings have left a lot to desire, especially the lack of humble individuals representing the club. This could perhaps explain the trophy drought at Old Trafford, having last won major silverware in the Europa League final against Ajax in 2017.
With Ten Hag’s rebuild, it is important that the new recruits have the right mindset and character that fit the culture of the club. Humility is what has led the club to be successful in the past; players who had only been focussed on making the club successful and moved mountains to help their team.
A big summer lies ahead at Old Trafford following the departures of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Edinson Cavani and Nemanja Matic, but only those players with the right attitude will help move the club forward. And the ambition to sign De Jong is a step in the right direction.
In addition, United are closing in on their first summer signing after the club’s officials reportedly flew out to Amsterdam to conduct the final stages of a £ 40m switch for Antony.
Ten Hag is a fan of the Brazilian who bagged 12 goals and 10 assists for the Dutch side last campaign, and will be hopeful that can pay off in Manchester.