Mauricio Pochettino and Lionel Messi, both of Paris Saint-Germain, agree that Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong is a “great player.”
The Dutchman is on United’s radar ahead of the transfer window starting in less than a week. He joined Barcelona from Ajax in 2019. The Reds are in severe need of midfield reinforcements, and De Jong is one of their top targets.
At Ajax, the midfielder worked with United boss Erik ten Hag, who is eager to work with him again at Old Trafford. He is said to have contacted De Jong’s agent in an attempt to persuade him to move to England, despite the fact that United’s lack of Champions League participation next season could complicate negotiations.
It would be a major show of purpose if United were successful in their efforts to recruit the 25-year-old, who scored four goals and added five assists for Barcelona last season. He is regarded as one of Europe’s top box-to-box midfielders, and he has a large following.
Messi is one of them. The two played together at Barcelona until the Argentine’s departure last summer, and the Argentine was a huge supporter of De Jong’s abilities.
During private meetings between Messi, De Jong, and former Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman, Messi made his thoughts on De Jong extremely plain. Messi spoke highly of the United target and said he enjoyed playing alongside him, according to the former Southampton manager, who left the Spanish giants in October last year.
“When I arrived, I told Frenkie: ‘This is your second season, you have to make a step higher now, you need to do more than just play along,'” Koeman told De Telegraaf last year. This may appear cruel, but he understood the message.
“I told him he needed to take on greater responsibilities.” To spend more time in the opponent’s box.
“I also brought Messi into these discussions.” Messi described Frenkie as a wonderful player. He enjoys being around players like Frenkie because he prefers to be surrounded by true football players.
“When the three of us talk, Messi expresses his feelings on Frenkie. Messi feels Frenkie can reach a far higher level, so he always tries to activate him. He thinks he’s a really smart gamer.
Messi isn’t the only current PSG employee who has been poetic in the past about De Jong. Pochettino, who was in charge of Tottenham Hotspur at the time, praised the Netherlands international back in 2019.
Just over three years ago, when Spurs faced Ajax in the Champions League semi-finals, the Argentine complimented De Jong. Despite the fact that De Jong was still playing for Ajax at the time, Barcelona had already agreed to sign him the next summer.
“If you want me to focus on Frenkie de Jong, he is a terrific player,” Pochettino remarked. I see why Barcelona pays such a large sum.
“He is one of the players who has most impressed me, although they have a lot of excellent players around him.”