Manchester United’s 13-week pursuit of Frenkie de Jong has raised eyebrows supplied the intricate economic predicament of FC Barcelona.
Following a “broad agreement” was achieved in between the golf equipment more than a rate, the concern of De Jong’s deferred wages have brought the transfer to a relative standstill.
What has irked quite a few supporters and pundits is the clear refusal of United to transfer on from the Dutchman and pursue options.
Without a doubt, it appears like a predicament of “De Jong or bust.” But is there a further motive for the Pink Devils putting all of their eggs in 1 basket further than the participant acquiring labored very well less than Erik ten Hag just before?
The new manager’s quotes from preseason relating to Fred’s functionality against Aston Villa shed a tiny gentle on why De Jong would be a lynchpin in his aspect.
“In the second he is taking part in in the role as connecter, defending to offence. He is actively playing the position very perfectly. I am glad with his efficiency, with his improvement,” reported Ten Hag.
“I imagine he can even be improved. I will help him in that. He also provides vitality in the staff by his attitude.”
That “connecter” position in between defence and attack is particularly exactly where De Jong thrives, and while Ten Hag publicly praised Fred’s general performance, there are factors of the Brazilian’s activity that are lacking in undertaking the job to a prime-class amount.
In that particular match, Fred normally struggled to supply himself as a passing possibility for his centre backs and when he did get on the ball, he experienced further more struggles in progressing it. This has been lined at length in the United Matchday Magazine, particularly relating to the importance of a solitary pivot to produce space for himself.
De Jong is a grasp at this. Whilst he has usually showcased better up the pitch below Xavi at Barcelona, Ronald Koeman, Louis van Gaal and of program Erik 10 Hag have viewed him as a participant most effective suited to a deeper role in midfield mainly because of that excellent.
In this job, be it in entrance of a again four or a again three, as a solitary pivot or in a pair as at Ajax, he offers a skillset that extremely couple in world affordable soccer participant jerseys possess.
Utilizing information from Smarterscout, a website that uses sophisticated algorithms and adjustment things to compare information from players throughout leagues, we can just take a seem at some of his unusual metrics in the deep midfield function – we’ve made use of his 2020/21 period as it was the very last time De Jong experienced around a thousand minutes in the place across a season.
Observe his absurdly high ratings for Hyperlink-up participate in and Dribble volume – this is a player who knows how to develop place and appreciates how to come across passes to a world class degree.
A rating of 91 for Ball Retention capacity is also astoundingly higher, with that distinct metric amongst the most critical for a pivot player, specifically in a possession-centric aspect these types of as the a single 10 Hag is looking to implement.
In a holding function, his Defensive Quantity is normally minimal, as his task is to mop up instead than chase, but his score for Defensive Quality is much more than adequate, notably supplied his impressive Duel scores.
An Attacking Output score of 64 is also on the significant aspect for a participant nominally utilised in front of the defence, and provided his reduced benefit for Shot Quantity, that score is primarily a direct consequence of his ball-progressing actions.
10 Hag has previously fully commited to “develop just one in that position” should really United’s pursuit of a holding midfielder are unsuccessful to bear fruit and, as previously mentioned, Fred appears to be like the male he will switch to should really United keep on being discouraged in the transfer current market.
So what does Fred’s Smarterscout profile search like?
Taken from the season just long gone – arguably Fred’s greatest in a United shirt – what stands out instantly is his urgent intensity.
High scores for Disrupting Opposition Moves and Ball Recoveries go the eye exam, as we all know that the Brazilian is always excellent for incorporating hustle and bustle to the midfield.
Smarterscout has integrated Fred’s minutes greater up the pitch as remaining accrued in a “DM” job, which goes some way to explaining his really significant Attacking Output rating in a period in which he scored five aims and contributed 4 assists.
It might also have hampered his Ball Retention score somewhat, though 35 is pretty lower for a player in a “connecter” position, no make any difference how you caveat it.
A score of just 27 for Dribble quantity goes some way to explaining why his passes frequently seem to be below pressure, whilst his normal quantity for Connection up play barely screams “metronome.”
His Smarterscout profile actually paints him as a great lover to Frenkie de Jong, relatively than a player who can be moulded into his position, meaning Erik 10 Hag has a position on his palms if United do not reinforce the position externally.
So why have not Manchester United shopped all over?
The remedy could effectively be that they have and have been unhappy by the solutions.
Ruben Neves, per year linked with a go to Outdated Trafford, has surfaced as a doable alternative, even though Bruno Lage’s remarks on valuing the Portuguese midfielder at £100m might make that a non-starter.
Even if the rate have been far more realistic, if 10 Hag is seeking for a like-for-like substitute for De Jong, Neves simply just does not have the profile.
He undoubtedly appears to be like far more of a “holding” player than Fred, with Defending Quality much more widespread than Amount, though his bad Duel Rankings would absolutely be a concern, specifically need to Ten Hag want Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes to entire his midfield trio down the line.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers male certainly goes about his playmaking responsibilities in a entirely diverse way to De Jong and it may well not be a way conducive to probing possession low-priced soccer player jerseys.
Neves’ standout attribute is plainly his lengthier passing, with a excellent rating of 81 for Passes toward intention suggesting as considerably.
Comparatively small numbers for Url-up volume and an average Ball retention skill score indicate that this is a player significantly additional suited to a quickly-changeover aspect than 1 that wishes to maintain on to the ball, however.
His Attacking Output rating is also greatly motivated by a superior Shot Volume, that means that in a “connector” part, Neves would possible struggle to glance for these hazardous >15 lawn passes involving the lines, preferring possibly raking switches or smashed shots, to clever mixtures.
A reduced Dribble Volume rating could also be a worry in bringing the ball out from the backline – an issue 10 Hag plainly desires to resolve.
United have also been joined with Fabian Ruiz, and his contract condition indicates that he would be an attainable focus on in this window, with €30m the touted selling price.
His Smarterscout profile bears considerably a lot more in typical with De Jong than the Wolves guy as very well:
A participant Napoli signed to substitute Jorginho was always going to rating big for Website link up Quantity and Fabian does not disappoint in this metric, with his 96-ranking placing him stage with Frenkie de Jong. His Ball Retention means – whilst not very as significant as the Dutchman’s – is quite impressive with a score of 88.
Coming off the back of his most effective finishing marketing campaign with 7 Serie A goals, his Attacking Output and Shot Volume are also nicely over normal.
Exactly where he scores significantly reduced than De Jong is in his Dribble Quantity, and though a single could argue that Fabian’s Smarterscout profile paints him as a a lot more comprehensive midfielder, Erik ten Hag’s pursuit of De Jong would counsel that he is searching for a expert in the “connecter” job.
To that, just one could contend that Fabian has currently demonstrated that he has the dribbling acumen to fill the position.
His Smarterscout profiles from seasons gone by have proven a downward trend in his Dribble Volume – a change that has much more to do with his moulding into the Jorginho position Napoli signed him for, than it appears to have with any type of basic adjust in the participant himself.
Back again at Real Betis, in much more of a box-to-box part, he even now had the incredible Connection-up Quantity, but he married it with a penchant for progressive carries up the pitch as effectively.
Whilst that was back again in 2018, if 10 Hag wants to wind De Jong back to the participant who set Europe alight at Ajax, it would not be unreasonable to recommend he could attempt the similar with the Spaniard.
A mark in opposition to Fabian can be identified in his Duel Ratings, which are even worse throughout the board than De Jong’s. Given that lots of are concerned about the Barca man’s defensive abilities as it is, a player much less effective in 1-on-1 predicaments may well not inspire far too much self-assurance in defensive transitions.
With increased scores in Defensive Quantity, Fabian may also be far more a person to chase the ball relatively than mop it up, although he has been reasonably disciplined positionally at Napoli in latest times.
So why not just get Fabian?
Properly, with Ten Hag going through a monumental activity in turning United’s fortunes close to, a person can not begrudge him pushing for a participant that he is aware of will do the job from their time at Ajax, specially specified his Champions League expertise – encounter which Fabian has notably significantly less of with just 530 UCL occupation minutes.
De Jong is also a lot more probable to be completely ready to move straight in below tension, having performed underneath the best amount of scrutiny at Barcelona and on the worldwide stage.
Irrespective of the saga, the increased payment and the wage difficulties, there are apparent good reasons why De Jong helps make sense.
But if August 13th comes all over and Barcelona lever their way into a option that allows them keep the playmaker – or if, God forbid, Chelsea pull just one more than on the Red Devils – really do not be shocked if John Murtough boards a airplane to Naples.
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