Man United are keen on signing Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona in this summer’s transfer window
Paris Saint-Germain duo Mauricio Pochettino and Lionel Messi are both in agreement that Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong is a “fantastic player.”
The Dutchman, who joined Barcelona from Ajax back in 2019, is on United’s radar ahead of the transfer window opening in less than a week’s time. The Reds are desperate to strengthen their midfield options and De Jong is among their leading targets.
The midfielder worked with United manager Erik ten Hag at Ajax and the latter is keen to be reunited with him at Old Trafford. He is understood to have reached out to De Jong’s agent in a bid to lure him to England, even though United’s lack of Champions League football next season could prove problematic in their attempts to strike a deal
However, if United were successful in their efforts to sign the 25-year-old, who netted four goals and grabbed five assists for Barcelona this past season, it would be a huge statement of intent. He is considered as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in Europe and is not short on admirers.
One of those is Messi. The duo played together at Barcelona up until the Argentine’s exit from the club last summer and was a big fan of De Jong’s talents.
Messi made his feelings on De Jong very clear during private conversations between himself, De Jong and former Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman. The former Southampton boss, who left the Spanish giants back in October last year, revealed that Messi spoke very highly of the United target and that he enjoyed playing alongside him.
Koeman, speaking last year, told De Telegraaf: “When I arrived I told Frenkie: ‘This is your second season, you have to make a step higher now, you need to do more than just play along’. This sounds cruel, but he got the message.
“I told him to take more responsibility. To arrive in the opponent’s box more.
“During these conversations I also involved Messi. Messi told Frenkie that he is a fantastic player. He becomes happy around a player like Frenkie, because he wants to have pure football players around him
“When we talk with the three of us, Messi shares his opinion towards Frenkie. He always tries to activate him, as Messi believes that Frenkie can reach a much higher level. He finds him a very intelligent player.”
Messi is not the only current PSG employee to have waxed lyrical about De Jong in the past. The Netherlands international was hailed by head coach Pochettino back in 2019, at which time he was in charge at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Argentine praised De Jong ahead of Spurs facing Ajax in the Champions League semi-finals just over three years ago. Although he was still playing for Ajax at the time, Barcelona had already reached an agreement to sign De Jong that forthcoming summer.
Pochettino said: “If you ask me to focus on Frenkie de Jong, he is a fantastic player. I understand why Barcelona pay this fantastic amount.
“He is one of the players who impressed me the most but not only him, they have a lot of players around with quality.”