Man Utd ‘identify top two targets’ for next phase of Ten Hag rebuild

Man Utd and ten Hag face manic 42-day period

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Manchester United are planning to pursue Frenkie de Jong and Jude Bellingham when the transfer window reopens next summer, according to reports. Both players have been of interest to the Red Devils in recent years. And it seems like the Glazers are ready to grant Erik ten Hag more backing as they look to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.

Manchester United signed six players back in the summer transfer window.

Tyrell Malacia was the first player to arrive, with Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, Antony and Martin Dubravka then moving to the Premier League.

One player United missed out on, however, was De Jong – with the Barcelona star always preferring to stay at the Nou Camp, rather than jumping ship.

Yet the saga isn’t over, according to ESPN, with Ten Hag still eager to bring the Netherlands international to England.

The duo previously worked together at Ajax, helping them win the Eredivisie title and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019.

This summer, De Jong was reluctant to leave Barcelona with a number of different factors behind his thinking.

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Champions League football was always key for the 25-year-old, with United unable to offer him that platform following their sixth-placed finish last term.

Barcelona also owed De Jong money after the midfielder agreed to take a temporary pay cut at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

The Netherlands international feels Barcelona finally have a squad that can challenge for the biggest prizes, too, having recruited the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen.

And he’s also settled in Catalonia, too, having dreamed of playing for the club ever since he was a small child.

United are said to have a feeling that De Jong is attainable in the future, with Ten Hag refusing to give up hope of striking a deal.

And De Jong isn’t the only player on the Dutchman’s radar as he looks to build a dynasty at his new club.

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United are also primed to pursue a deal for Borussia Dortmund youngster Bellingham, who was previously of interest to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during his stint in the dugout.

In 2020, the Red Devils showed the youngster round their Carrington training complex – where he met the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Bryan Robson.

And though United missed out on the player, who was strutting his stuff for Birmingham at the time, they’re set to launch another assault next summer.

United won’t be the only team who will pursue Bellingham, however.

They’re aware Manchester City, Liverpool and Real Madrid will all pursue the 19-year-old – while Chelsea have also been linked.

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But that won’t stop them from going after Bellingham with everything they’ve got, with the teenager regarded as one of world football’s hottest prospects.

The report adds United are ‘are not planning a major revamp of their squad in January’.

And that means they’re saving their cash for next summer instead, when De Jong and Bellingham will be their main objectives.

Speaking recently, meanwhile, former United star Jaap Stam has admitted his old side would have been disappointed to miss out on De Jong.

“It probably was a big disappointment because Frenkie is a world-class player,” he said.

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“He[Ten Hag] needs to fill in that position with different players. Up until now, he’s doing it well, [Scott] McTominay is growing, [Christian] Eriksen is doing really well and Bruno [Fernandes] is playing better. Casemiro has come in, so he can make that choice.

“That’s really important for the coach. If you want to play a certain way, you have to have players in there who can adapt to the system.

“It was a disappointment, but they need to move on. You need to work, you can’t dwell on what happened.

“It depends on the players [January move for De Jong] he’s got there now and how they’re performing. They’re learning and making progress with how he wants them to play.

“I think this player, Frenkie, with the ability that he has, is always interesting.”

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