Man Utd signing star Erik ten Hag ‘desperately’ wants could see Kobbie Mainoo suffer | Football | Sport

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Erik ten Hag might have a chance to recruit one of his top transfer targets at Manchester United if he remains the club’s manager this summer, according to reports. However, former Red Devils defender Mikael Silvestre is concerned that a swoop for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong would derail Kobbie Mainoo’s rise to stardom.

Ten Hag’s first summer at Old Trafford was dominated by his unsuccessful chase for former Ajax student De Jong, who reports claimed the Dutchman was ‘desperate’ to lure to England.

United reportedly agreed an initial £56million deal for the Barcelona ace before he rejected a switch in favour of staying in Spain.

Casemiro landed in M16 in a blockbuster £70m transfer instead, but De Jong continues to be linked with a move away from the La Liga giants.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona would be ready to part ways with the 26-year-old if they receive a bid worth around £85m this summer.

That could tempt Ten Hag, who could be in the market for another big-money midfielder, with Christian Eriksen and Casemiro turning 32 this month, and the latter the subject of interest in Saudi Arabia.

But unlike the summer of 2022, he now has a major consideration in the form of Mainoo amid his sensational breakout season in the first team.

The 18-year-old has established himself as a regular starter in Ten Hag’s first-choice midfield alongside Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes.

And Silvestre fears that the arrival of a box-to-box midfielder like De Jong could stall Mainoo’s upwards trajectory, given he plays the same role.

“If a player like Frenkie de Jong is available, he should be considered. But again, you look at Kobbie, and we talked about Scott [McTominay], and we have Casemiro here,” Silvestre told

“Will De Jong be an upgrade? Of course, ahead of Kobbie. But if you want to continue developing Mainoo and give him the time, I don’t think De Jong should come in.”

He added: “He’s [Mainoo’s] been impressive and hasn’t had a bad game, so for a young player, it’s impressive.

“For a young player, he’s consistent, and he’s vital in midfield as he covers ground and sustains a high energy level.

“He’s able to press well, and his passing ability is getting better and better. You can see his confidence is rising.”

“The goal vs Wolves was a big boost, but his general play has been very good. His link-up play when building from the back has to be both safe and courageous.

“He’s doing it so I just hope it continues and he grows as a player and an individual into the team. He’s another academy graduate, which shows the way for the next one in line.

“It’s just the beginning for him, so we shouldn’t put too much pressure on him. Or extra expectations.”


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