Manchester United are expected to sign Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, despite negotiations with the Catalan giants dragging on.
The Netherlands international is Erik ten Hag’s top target, having previously played under the 52-year-old at Ajax.
And, in Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek, the Red Devils have already signed two players in recent years who can be perfect alongside the midfielder.
Manchester United are looking to bolster their midfield, especially after losing Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic on free transfers.
And the club are aggressively pursuing a deal for De Jong, just three years after Barcelona snapped up the midfielder from Ajax.
If he does move to United, it’s possible that De Jong will go straight into the team. With Pogba and Matic gone, there’s certainly a hole that needs filling.
And it’s also a possibility that he’ll be deployed alongside Van de Beek, who he played with at Ajax, and Fernandes.
It would be no understatement to say that Van de Beek has underwhelmed since his move to Old Trafford two years ago.
But there’s a player in there somewhere, as he showed during his time at Ajax.
Van de Beek was regularly overlooked by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who never wanted him in 2020 in the first place. Jack Grealish, of Aston Villa at the time, was his preferred target.
And he didn’t get much of a chance under Ralf Rangnick, either, with the German shipping the Netherlands international out on loan to Everton.
Van de Beek didn’t live up to expectations at Goodison Park, either.
But he’s set to be given a lifeline at United by Ten Hag, who previously coaxed the best from him during their spell at Ajax together.
If United can get Van de Beek back to his best, then De Jong would be a dream partner in crime in the middle of the park.
The duo struck up a strong partnership at Ajax, with the pair both possessing energy, creativity and discipline in abundance.
Though Van de Beek was used as a No 10 during his spell in Amsterdam, Ten Hag may also move him further back to play alongside his compatriot.
And that would then allow Fernandes to play further ahead.
The Portugal international is a chaotic player. For every moment of brilliance, there are also moments where he looks disgruntled and as though he’s trying too hard.
Last season, Fernandes scored 10 goals across all competitions – having notched 28 the previous campaign.
But with De Jong and Van de Beek offering solidarity in the middle of the park, he’d likely be given more opportunities going forward.
United signed Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon back in the January transfer window of 2020.
And deploying both him and Van de Beek alongside De Jong would give United a midfield that’s capable of doing it all.
The Red Devils have been patient when it comes to landing the Barcelona star, with the fallen Premier League giants still aiming to wear Barcelona down.
And there remains an expectancy they’ll get this deal over the line, especially after Richard Arnold confirmed an entourage was in Barcelona negotiating for the midfielder.
Speaking to fans at a pub on Saturday, Arnold said: “As a club we’re doing everything possible to get the deal done.
“I’ve been up for days trying to get it done.
“The money is there but there’s things standing in our way which I can’t say.”
And Arnold also slammed United for their poor transfer dealings in recent years, too, saying: “We’ve [expletive] burned through cash. We spent a billion pounds on players, we spent more than anyone in Europe.
“I am not thrilled with where we are; it doesn’t sit easy and we’ve got to get this sorted. You can’t go to our training ground and go, ‘show me where that billion pounds is here’.
“I don’t think we’ve done well with the money we’ve spent historically.
“We’ve blown through an enormous amount of money. Last year was a [expletive] nightmare. I was hating every minute of it.”