Frenkie de Jong’s ‘Zidane’ comparison shows why Erik ten Hag needs him at Man Utd

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A re-emerged comparison between Frenkie de Jong and Zinedine Zidane from three years ago shows exactly why Erik ten Hag needs him at Manchester United. De Jong has been linked with a move to Old Trafford since his former boss at Ajax, Ten Hag, was appointed as United’s next permanent manager.

The midfielder starred under Ten Hag at the Johan Cruyff Arena, winning the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup double in his final season. In fact, he impressed so much that he earned a £63million move to Barcelona, where he has been a regular starter over the last three seasons.

But just before he made that move Netherlands legend Ruud Gullit made it clear that he believed De Jong was closer to Real Madrid icon Zidane than any Barca star. Gullit was full of praise for the midfielder, insisting that his playing style was reminiscent of Zidane.

“Frenkie De Jong is a free soul. He takes everything to the limit. He challenges you as an opponent. He makes it easy also for the rest of the team to take positions because he doesn’t lose the ball very much and also wants the ball,” Gullit told Goal in 2019.

“So therefore he’s a player like, if you want to compare, a little bit Zidane. Wants the ball as well, glides past players and things like that. I like the way he plays, he’s very young also. In only two years with Ajax, he has developed himself in unbelievable fashion.”

A player in De Jong’s mould is exactly what United have been missing under Ralf Rangnick this season. Having developed further under the guidance of Xavi at the Nou Camp, De Jong is arguably a better player than when Gullit compared him to Zidane.

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With that in mind, it is no surprise that Ten Hag is pushing to link back up with the 24-year-old by bringing him to United. De Jong would certainly help to solve one of the biggest problem areas in the Red Devils’ squad, as well as helping Ten Hag to implement his tactical ideas.

De Jong also appears to be keen to play under Ten Hag again, having spent three years at Barcelona. According to Marca, De Jong is ‘not completely happy’ with life at Barca and has not ‘ruled out’ an exit this summer, news that will be sure to delight Ten Hag and United.

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