Frenkie de Jong might obtain his ideal shirt number for Manchester United if Erik ten Hag completes his move for the Barcelona star during the upcoming transfer window.
Speculation about the Netherlands midfielder remains high, and United is considering a move for him, which would bring him back into contact with his former Ajax manager Ten Hag, who arrived at Old Trafford on Monday to begin work on a much-needed summer rebuild.
Barcelona looks to have softened its stance on the 25-year-old after club president Joan Laporta stated that De Jong may be traded. United are still interested in the player, and if their £75 million bid is successful, the Arkel-born playmaker will be reunited with Ten Hag at Old Trafford next season.
Laporta said of the Netherlands’ 40-cap star: “He has a lot of quality, he knows our system, and he’s a player we believe should stay at Barcelona. It’s also true that he’s a highly sought-after talent, and we’ve had offers from other teams. Right now, everything is open. It will be heavily reliant on the issue of fair play.”
De Jong proudly donned his favored number 21 shirt during his time at the Nou Camp and Ajax before that, which will be vacated by outgoing United forward Edinson Cavani for next season. In an unprecedented move, the Premier League allowed Cavani to change his squad number in 2021/2022 after the first submission deadline.
That came when United attempted to allocate Cristiano Ronaldo the famed number 7 he wore during his first memorable stay at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009. It made sense for Cavani as well, given that he has worn the number 21 on his back for the Uruguay national team.
Despite having worn many jerseys in the youth systems at Ajax and Willem II before that, De Jong was given the number 21 for his first season as a member of the senior squad in Amsterdam. He wore the same number as Barcelona, and he also wears the number 21 when representing the Netherlands in friendlies and big games.
Cavani took over the number 21 shirt left vacant by Daniel James following his summer transfer to Leeds United. At this time, the following numbers are available: 12, 24, 30, 32, and 35.