Erik ten Hag has new main midfield target - it's not Frenkie de Jong
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Erik ten Hag has made Jude Bellingham his primary midfield target ahead of Barcelona’s Frenkie De Jong, according to a new report.
A transfer saga that dominated the headlines over the summer was Manchester United’s pursuit of De Jong.
The Dutchman, who had starred under ten Hag when both were at Ajax, was thought to be the Man Utd boss’ number one target.
When a deal failed to materialise, however, Man Utd completed the acquisition of five-time Champions League winner Casemiro from Real Madrid for £70million.
While ten Hag remains keen on strengthening the Red Devils’ midfield, it appears that Man Utd may have turned their attention from De Jong to England’s Bellingham.
A Daily Mirror report claims that Man Utd are among a spate of clubs interested in Borussia Dortmund’s 19-year-old midfielder and that the club want to prioritise a move for Bellingham next summer.
The decision to target the England international has reportedly been made by ten Hag and the club’s football director John Murtough, while funds have allegedly been promised for such transfer activity.
Earlier this week German publication Bild claimed that Dortmund had set a €150million (£128.9million) price tag for the player, which would make the teenager the most expensive Englishman in history.
Man Utd will also have to compete with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid to secure Bellingham’s services.
Meanwhile, De Jong remains adamant that he will stay at Barcelona, despite the cash-strapped super club's attempts to move on the Netherlands international.
Speaking last month, the 25-year-old claimed that Barcelona’s president Joan Laporta had been trying to convince him to leave the club.
De Jong told Ziggo Sport: “I was calm. I decided in May that I wanted to stay. My opinion never changed during that entire period.
“I stayed calm. But then you know the pressure would start to come… yes, from the newspapers, from the president, exactly. From everywhere actually. But I wanted to stay at Barca so it never baffled me.”