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What Can De Jong Bring to Man United After Three Years at Barcelona?

If De Jong sticks to his guns, it appears more and more likely that he will play for Manchester United in the upcoming season. So, what will he bring to the table that United needs? As a 25-year-old, De Jong has a lot left in the tank and, in truth, strolls into Manchester United's midfield with ease.

Despite the significant investment in Paul Pogba, Fred, and Bruno Fernandes, this has been a problem area for several seasons now.

There is no denying that Fernandes has been a huge success in England, but Pogba, who only showed flashes of brilliance during his second six-year stint at Old Trafford and has now left on a free transfer, and neither Fred nor Scott McTominay appear natural fits for Ten Hag's possession-based fluid system. De Jong is a significant upgrade above what United currently has in that position.

De Jong, who played in front of the defense in a 4-3-3 formation or as part of a double pivot in a 4-2-3-1 shape in this week's 4-0 friendly win over Liverpool, could assume the role of United's midfield general from a deeper position with Eriksen's impending arrival set to supplement Fernandes as a creator.

De Jong completed more passes than any United midfielder last season, with only Fernandes (1,849) coming close to his total of 2,160. In addition, he played 47 times, 20 more than the man he is replacing, Paul Pogba.

Only Fred (372) and Fernandes (841) of Manchester United's midfielders, barring hoofs, lost possession more often than De Jong (359) last season.

The fact that De Jong lost possession so frequently looks to be attributable to the fact that he attempted so many more passes than his Manchester United peers.

The dribbling prowess of De Jong gives United's offense a new dimension, and his ability to carry the ball upfield is an asset in transition. Only Matic, who tried 27 dribbles last season, had a greater dribble success rate than 77.4 per cent of the United midfielders. De Jong carried the ball 279 times in La Liga last season, according to Opta stats. Fred scored just 91 Premier League goals, compared to McTominay's 182 and Pogba's 125.

Because of this, Ten Hag regards De Jong as a critical part of the puzzle. This agreement would be a statement of purpose and a perfect platform for United to be fashioned in the image of their new manager if it was completed and across the line.

Even if there are questions about Cristiano Ronaldo's future further up the field, the United midfield has been in desperate need of a big overhaul, and De Jong provides just that.

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