Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has had to deal with Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen aggressively attempting to keep Frenkie de Jong at the club. In a long-running tale, the Dutchman was the Red Devils’ main target during the summer transfer window. However, he chose to stay at Camp Nou instead.
Over the summer, De Jong was extensively linked with a move away from Barcelona, with the La Liga giants reportedly viewing him as expendable and a solution to fix their financial problems. United was the subject of the most conjecture, with the club supposedly having an accepted proposal, although Chelsea was also mentioned.
De Jong, on the other hand, chose to stay at the club and has been rewarded with significant game action. Throughout the season, he has made 26 appearances in all competitions, assisting Sergio Busquets, Pedri, and Gavi.
The 25-year teammates, old’s including Ter Stegen, are overjoyed that he has stayed. The German goalkeeper has stated that he would like to play with De Jong indefinitely and would be willing to physically bind him to do so in order to block Ten Hag’s probable future transfer intentions.
“I guess one day I’ll just put something here to keep him here forever. “I hope he stays a long time,” Ter Stegen told reporters. “I was hopeful that he would stay [last summer] because this is the type of guy I want to have in my club. There were many rumors and debates, but I’m just glad he stayed; I don’t want him to leave.
“I have a great impression of him, but I also have high expectations of him as a player. He is extremely gifted. He sees and feels football in a unique manner, and he is someone who guys like Gavi and Pedri can look up to.”
The two European powerhouses will square off in the Europa League on Thursday at Camp Nou. Ter Stegen will be crucial to his team’s hopes as he attempts to prevent Marcus Rashford from continuing his hot streak. The 30-year-old is having the greatest season of his Barcelona career, surrendering only seven goals in La Liga.
The meeting between the two sides is expected to be heated, with kickoff at 5.45pm on Thursday and live coverage on BT Sport.