Is De Jong the trump card for Ten Hag’s plans to save Manchester United?
The arrival of the Dutch midfielder will give the coach the opportunity to play in three different formations
Friday – 9 Dhu al-Hijjah 1443 AH – 08 July 2022 AD Issue No. [
Ten Hag coaches United players on the first day of training session for the new season (Getty) De Jong will give Ten Hag several options for game plans (Reuters)
London: Jimmy Jackson
Dutch coach Erik Ten Hag feels confident in his club Manchester United’s ability to sign the club’s main target in the current summer transfer window, Frank de Jong, for 85 million euros. And as the Dutch midfielder, who is considered one of Europe’s top talents, was reluctant to leave Barcelona, De Jong’s arrival at Old Trafford could be a transfer market coup for Manchester United. Barcelona president Joan Laporta is still evasive in his negotiations with United, and the closer he gets to agreeing to sell De Jong, he returns the next day to confirm that he does not intend to play the Dutch midfielder does not sell, despite acknowledging that the club’s dire financial situation may necessitate the sale of some players.
“I will do everything in my power to keep De Jong,” Laporta said last week, but knows that the Dutch international will have to agree to a salary cut to stay at Camp Nou. The Catalan club president reiterated his statements two days ago, emphasizing that De Jong is a Barcelona player and if that is not necessary, we will not sell him, we know he has offers, but at the moment we will have him. not sold.
While Ten Hag de Jong is considered the ideal player in his plan to promote Manchester United, the fate of Ronaldo and his continuation at Old Trafford is still unknown, after reports spread last week of his desire to leave a team to join that to the Champions League.
De Jong is characterized by his ability to play in more than one position. During the three seasons he played for Ajax, the 25-year-old star has 12 times as a central defender, 50 times as a defensive midfielder and 12 times as a pivot. After moving to Barcelona in July 2019. He played again as a central defender (nine times), as a pivot in 36 games, and as an attacking midfielder in 93 games.
Therefore, the question now is: How can Ten Hag make the most of De Jong, and who are the other players that the Dutch coach can rely on after completing the two transactions of Terrell Malacia from Feyenoord and Christian Eriksen (a free transfer agreement) ), and awaits a response from any defenders including Joren Timber, Argentina’s Lisandro Martinez and Brazilian winger Anthony of Ajax.
Both Malacia and Eriksen have already arrived at Old Trafford and are ready for the camp, although the latter were reluctant, with the Danish midfielder receiving further offers from Brentford and Leicester City. As for Martinez, Timber and Anthony, although Ten Hag would like to sign them, Manchester United acknowledge that it is difficult to bring them together, and Timber or Toni may be the preferred option.
At Ajax, Ten Hag preferred to rely mainly on the 4-3-3 method, before changing to 4-3-1-2 at the end of the season. Below we highlight the ways in which Ten Hag can rely on Manchester United.
The 3-4-3 method that Ten Hag dreams of applying: De Gea, Dalot, Martinez, Maguire, Malacia, Fernandez (the captain), McTominay, De Jong, Eriksen, Ronaldo (if he stays), Anthony ( or Jadon Sancho). ).
Ten Hag depends on the 4-3-3 “defensive” or “offensive” method, depending on the strength of the opposing team, and what he wants to achieve in the game. In the case of playing 4-3-3 with an attacking tendency, De Jong will play a very influential role, especially in light of the support he will receive from his fellow midfielder Scott McTominay, who has tremendous defensive abilities. , and the ability of Portuguese Bruno Fernandes to connect the lines. Harry Maguire can, despite his occasional naive mistakes, be pushed alongside Martinez, who is expected to be a key player in Manchester United’s defense, despite his short stature for a central defender, who is 1.75 meters tall.
In the left-back position, Malacia is characterized by the ability to intervene strongly, withdraw the balls, launch at great speed and dribble well, and will therefore be able to retain a key place for him in this position at the expense of Luke Shaw . Diogo Dalot will be the closest to playing in the right-back position, reflecting the competition we saw last season between him and Aaron and Ann-Bissaka, unless Victor Lindelof or Brandon Williams (who also played in this position) a surprise.
On top of that, Anthony will perform better than Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, who will have to improve in terms of possession, vision on the field, score and assist rate, given that he still has only four goals and two assists in his 25 appearances in Season 2021 – 2022. On the other hand, Anthony scored nine goals and assisted four other goals in 23 games in the Eredivisie Premier League. Eriksen will be the player tasked with performing the most defensive tasks among the top three, with Cristiano Ronaldo playing deep after scoring 18 goals in 30 Premier League games in his first season after returning to Old Trafford. And if there is any doubt about the 37-year-old’s ability to survive, if he continues, he will have a hard time adapting to the physical demands of the way Ten Hag relies on it. But the Dutch coach does not care about those who doubt his ability to utilize Ronaldo, and gives the example of Sebastian Haller, slow in his movements, who gave him a crucial role in Ajax’s victory in the Eredivisie title last season let play.
In the event of reliance on this group, Fernandes will be the leader, as Maguire will not automatically guarantee his place in the starting line-up, and therefore the coach will decide to give the bracelet to one of Manchester United’s few generals on the field. .
* Method 4-3-1-2 in case De Jong only joins Malacia: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Malacia, McTominay, De Jong, Fred, Fernandes, Ronaldo, Rashford.
If he plays with this formation and in this way, De Jong will be the player who is most focused in depth, and Fred will give the Dutchman’s ability to pass long and make the best use of his preference for possession. The Brazilian star, who was more dynamic in the latter part of last season, will play alongside Fernandez and De Jong to form a strong triple midfield, with McTominay playing the role of “destroyer”.
At the backline, hopes will be pinned on Maguire’s experience and the abilities and capabilities of Raphael Varane, although the French World Cup winner has yet to perform in the Manchester United shirt as he appears slow, making silly mistakes that she team cost. some goals. In this way, the right-back position is a big headache for Ten Hag, as Wan-Bissaka is not effective in the attacking aspects, and Dalot struggles to read and understand the events of the matches, so Wan-Bissaka ‘ a little more suited to this defensive form. Rashford, who had a poor performance last season, was selected because his speed and ability to play straight on goal could compensate for Ronaldo’s failure to play at the same physical level during the 90 minutes.
Method 4-1-4-1: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Luke Shaw, de Young, Rashford, Van de Beek, Fred, Sancho, Fernandes.
This method is similar to the way the Spaniard Pep Guardiola plays with Manchester City, who are mostly dependent on a fake goal scorer, and this is the way Ten Hag can grab because he does not have a strong, outspoken goal scorer capable of is not. to take advantage of half opportunities in case Ronaldo needs to rest a bit. If Rodri is the first to play in front of the Manchester City defense, De Jong will be able to play this role under the leadership of Ten Hag, and the Dutch coach will also ask his young star to play the same skilled role as Rodri plays around the opponent. to expect his passing and suffocate him in the midfield. In addition, Fernandes’ football intelligence makes him the only “fake” goal scorer, and Donny van de Beek will be given a chance to prove himself and play the same role he did with De Jong and under Ten Hag with Ajax for two. year, from 2017 to 2019.
In defense, Varane is again pushed alongside Maguire, with Shaw playing instead of Malacia, who may take time to adjust and adapt to his new club, as well as the English left-back will react positively if Ten Hag doubts his abilities. , as the 26-year-old did it under his former coach, Jose Mourinho.
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