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Three Alternatives Manchester United Could Sign Should Frenkie De Jong Stay at Barcelona

Gerard Bands

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Three Alternatives Manchester United Could Sign Should Frenkie De Jong Stay at Barcelona

With Manchester United crucially needing midfield reinforcements, it comes as no surprise why the name of Frenkie de Jong has been circulating the grounds of Carrington. 

Despite agreeing a fee with Barcelona, the obstacle left in signing the Dutch midfielder appears to be De Jong’s desire to stay at the Catalan club. 

With the pursuit of Frenkie de Jong seeming to be stalling, here are three alternatives Manchester United may look at to strengthen their midfield should the Red Devils walk away from the deal.

Youri Tielemans

Youri Tielemans is a player that many fans have had their eye on since his Premier League debut with Leicester City in 2019, with the young midfielder starting off slow in the Premier League recent times have shown that Tielemans is the real deal. 

From his goal to win Leicester City their first FA Cup to the countless spectacular goals against Manchester United, Tielemans has proven to be a midfielder comfortable with the high demands of the English top-flight.

With the news ahead of the transfer window confirming that Tielemans will not extend his contract with Leicester City, the Belgian international will likely work with Leicester City to find a solution which will benefit both parties.

With the contract of Youri Tielemans currently expiring in 2023, the Premier League proven midfielder will most definitely be one to watch during a busy transfer window.

Youri Tielemans' strike in the FA Cup final against Chelsea was a brilliant one. (Alamy)
Youri Tielemans' strike in the FA Cup final against Chelsea was a brilliant one. (Alamy)

With reports confirming Arsenal's interest in the 25-year-old midfielder, more recent ones have suggested that Tielemans has been a topic discussed amongst Manchester United with it being reported that new manager Erik ten Hag is a fan of Tielemans.

Tielemans would fit like a glove in the midfield set up at Manchester United, with the midfielder able to play across all positions in the middle of the ground Tielemans has also shown his ability to work well in a midfield pivot.

Should the Red Devils walk away from the Frenkie de Jong deal, Tielemans may present to be a bargain signing with the player only having a year left on his contract.

Fabián Ruiz

Fabián Ruiz is yet another quality alternative to Frenkie de Jong with the Spanish midfielder known for his deep lying playmaking ability. With the Spaniard also being 26 years of age, the upside of development under Erik ten Hag may prove pivotal.

Although it is unclear if a transfer for the Spaniard is imminent due to Napoli losing Koulibaly to Chelsea, Ruiz may present to be the most like for like alternative to Frenkie de Jong should Manchester United desire a certain profile.

As the Spaniard also has a contract expiring in 2023, should Napoli not be able to convince Ruiz to stay, like Tielemans, Ruiz may prove to be a bargain signing should Manchester United turn their attention to the Spaniard.

With the midfielder contributing seven goals and four assists in 32 appearances in the Serie A, Ruiz has proven to be a damaging player from the middle of the ground.

Fabien Ruiz in action for Spain in 2019. (Alamy)
Fabien Ruiz in action for Spain in 2019. (Alamy)

Fabián Ruiz is essentially the closest like for like midfielder when compared to Frenkie de Jong, as the Spaniard is always demanding the ball and always looking to damage oppositions with line-breaking passes, Fabián Ruiz may deem to be the perfect alternative for Frenkie de Jong.

Although Manchester United are yet to be linked to Fabián Ruiz in a summer where United have been linked to over 100 players, Ruiz is a player the Red devils should pay attention to should the signing of Frenkie de Jong not eventuate.

Sergej Milinković-Savić

Milinković-Savić is a name that many United fans are well aware of as the player had been reported to be on his way to Manchester United with Lazio and the Red devils at one stage agreeing on a fee for the Serbian international.

As we all know this transfer never happened, leaving the saga to be regarded as a ‘what if’ signing at Manchester United. Although this signing never eventuated in 2019 the year is now 2022 and the 27-year-old Serbian international could deem to be a viable option for the Red devils should the signing of Frenkie de Jong become complicated. 

Milinković-Savić since his rumored move to Manchester United, has still performed at a consistent basis at the top level and in his prime years could be a pivotal piece in the Manchester United midfield.

Sergej Milinković Savić in 2021. (Alamy)
Sergej Milinković Savić in 2021. (Alamy)

As the player is known for his physical presence in the midfield able to play across all positions in the midfield, Milinković-Savić can prove to fit in the Manchester United midfield with ease contributing defensively as well as offensively. 

Milinković-Savić in the 21/22 football campaign provided 11 goals and 11 assists in 37 appearances in the Serie A. Milinković-Savić ability to play on a consistent basis as well as provide significant goal threat is an ability which can evolve the Manchester United team should Erik ten Hag approve of this transfer.

Although Milinković-Savić may not be seen as a like for like alternative for Frenkie de Jong, the Serbian international most definitely replaces the profile of a Paul Pogba and can play a pivotal role at the Red devils should Manchester United look to signing Milinković-Savić.

Special mention: Zidane Iqbal

Although this dilemma may not please many United supporters who would much prefer to open the cheque book and sign a midfielder, the perfect Frenkie de Jong alternative may be on the pre-season tour as we speak.

Zidane Iqbal has shown the composure and technique needed at the highest level when playing in the midfield for Manchester United. During the pre-season friendlies against Liverpool and Melbourne Victory where Iqbal played in the second half of both games, the talented Manchester born academy prospect impressed many in a midfield role which emulates the similar position Frenkie de Jong would likely play.

Not only has Zidane Iqbal shown he can play in the middle of the ground in a position likely to be played by De Jong, Iqbal himself studies the Dutch midfielder.

Zidane Iqbal playing Lliverpool in pre-season
Zidane Iqbal playing Lliverpool in pre-season

In an interview on the YouTube channel United View with Zidane Iqbal after the game against Melbourne Victory, the midfielder is quoted saying “I always want the ball at my feet, try and make things happen, try and help the team ticking on.”

This quote displays the young midfielders gifted talent at being comfortable with the ball in possession as well as always looking to make things happen offensively whilst holding the ball.

Although this scenario seems unlikely, should the young midfielder develop following a successful loan spell or regular minutes in the first team, Manchester United might have found their own Frenkie de Jong. 

With the highly rated midfielder signing a new deal at the Red devils, Zidane Iqbal is certainly one to watch should he continue to receive first team minutes at Manchester United.

Although Frenkie de Jong is an essential piece to the revolution of Manchester United under Erik ten Hag, should the deal collapse, Manchester United will have to act swiftly in the market for alternatives as the premier league season is set to kick off on August 6th with Manchester United taking on Brighton.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, Youri Tielemans, Premier League, Frenkie De Jong, Erik Ten Hag

Gerard Bands
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