Former Manchester United scout Marcel Bout has revealed the club had the chance to sign Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt.
Manchester United have made terrible transfer decisions over the past decade, and fans are not surprised at some of the names they missed during that period. Many managers have come and gone, but the club always appears to be falling to a lower level. The latest names on the “missed out list” are Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, with the revelation coming from Marcel Bout.
This season, too, they have struggled for relevance under Erik ten Hag, as once again, some of their transfer decisions have come to bite them. Some of the previous managers had also cited the lack of awareness from the club in the transfer market, resulting in them missing out on players.
With the January transfer window approaching, Manchester United have again some critical decisions on their hands regarding incomings. There are also those likely to depart with talks of a potential exit for expensive acquisitions like Antony and Jadon Sancho.
The Antony transfer, in particular, has drawn criticism from many sections, as Manchester United decided to spend close to €100 million on the Brazilian. He had yet to make much headway at Ajax. But Manchester United still chose to spend big on him.
Former Manchester United scout Marcel Bout has revealed starkly the names the club might have missed. His comments on Algemeen Dagblad via Football Transfers suggest they may have rejected the idea of signing €170 million-plus Dutch duo Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt.
Bout said, “The 17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt was then playing for Ajax, and later Frenkie de Jong followed suit. ‘Make sure that United makes a deal early on for these types of talents. Then you can always let them develop for a while in the Netherlands,’ I said.”
“Because there are so many forces at play within United, you don’t make decisions at all, or you make them too late. Isn’t that a shame? A major annoyance was the long lines [of communication] within United to make decisions about interesting players. There are now top players at other European top clubs that we had seen early on with the scouting staff.”
The Dutchmen flourished at Ajax under ten Hag, and had Manchester United chosen to sign them then, things could have been different today. The Dutch duo played an instrumental role for Ajax when they broke through and then achieved big moves worth over €170 million.
Since last season, de Jong has been linked with a move to Manchester United. Ten Hag still wishes to sign him, but the midfielder seems content and happy at Barcelona for now. The Catalans are also planning on a contract renewal.
De Lijt has had a different career than de Jong, as the defender has not achieved absolute success since making the big move to Juventus and Bayern Munich. In any case, for Manchester United, losing out on signing the duo due to other factors may not be seen very softly by their fans.