Manchester United v Manchester City Match in Pictures
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could improve his midfield ranks in January by raiding Barcelona for the services of Frenkie de Jong, who has been deemed surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp, according to reports. The Red Devils boss currently finds himself under significant pressure at Old Trafford after a hugely disappointing start to the Premier League campaign.
United currently occupy sixth place in the division after winning just five of their 11 matches since the beginning of the season.
They spent heavily during the summer transfer window, splashing in excess of £110million to land Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane from Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid respectively.
The Red Devils were also expected to recruit a new deep-lying midfielder to provide the likes of Scott McTominay and Fred with some additional competition for their starting spots.
However, club chiefs eventually decided to channel their remaining funds into bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford after it had emerged that he was looking to leave Juventus in search of a new challenge.
United’s failure to land a new central midfielder has led to McTominay and Fred reprising their regular roles in the side throughout the current campaign.
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The pair have struggled to impress this season and were particularly poor during the heavy defeats against Liverpool and Manchester City before the international break.
United were linked with a move for Atletico Madrid playmaker Saul Niguez before he joined Chelsea on loan over the summer, but it seems as though a new midfield option could emerge for the Red Devils in January.
Barcelona have placed De Jong on the transfer list, with new manager Xavi looking to trim his squad ahead of the La Liga run-in, according to El Chringuito.
The Dutch midfielder has been identified by those at the Nou Camp as a high-value player who could alleviate the club’s financial crisis if he is sold in the near future.
De Jong’s exit is said to be ‘a necessity’ despite the 24-year-old having made 13 appearances in all competitions this season.
A number of interested parties from across Europe are said to be keeping tabs on the situation, with the January transfer window just weeks away.
However, it remains to be seen whether United will eventually join the race for De Jong’s signature at the turn of the year.
He formed part of the exciting Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-finals back in 2019 before joining Barcelona in a £77m move that summer.
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De Jong could offer a welcome improvement in the engine room for the Red Devils, who are still in desperate need of a top-class midfielder to anchor the side.
Former England striker Alan Shearer recently suggested that United made a big mistake in deciding not to sign another deep-lying option over the summer.
“That was Manchester United’s problem last season, they didn’t invest in that position and it’s the same again,” he told Match of the Day last month.
“There’s no one in there to really press and take control from the front. You can’t do that in the Premier League.
“They will always score, Man United, because of the brilliance they have going forward. But you cannot press if you haven’t got that aggression.”
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