‘I don’t understand why Barcelona are getting rid’: Frenkie de Jong’s impending move to Manchester United baffles Darren Bent, who insists his £70m switch to Old Trafford will be a backwards step for the Holland international
- Frenkie de Jong looks set to finalise a move from Spain to Manchester United
- Darren Bent has told talkSPORT he thinks the move is a ‘backwards step’
- Barcelona boss Xavi is said to be behind the Dutchman’s decision to leave club
- He will join the Red Devils to reunite with Erik ten Hag after their success at Ajax
United are close to agreeing terms with the Spanish giants, with an improved offer of about £70million on the cards.
But Bent told talkSPORT he was stunned by the move, especially when comparing where the clubs will be competing in Europe next season.
Frenkie de Jong was initially sceptical about leaving Barcelona but has been convinced by Xavi
Darren Bent said he thought Frenkie de Jong’s decision to leave Spain was a ‘backwards step’
‘It’s a surprising one when you look at where Barcelona are, and Manchester United are having a complete rebuild,’ Bent said.
‘It is surprising, I don’t understand why Barcelona are getting rid of someone of that quality. Do they need the money?
‘He made it clear he wants to stay, he called Barcelona the biggest club in the world. He seems happy there.
‘For Frenkie de Jong, he’s dropping out of the Champions League into the Europa (League). It does seem like a backwards step.’
New United boss Erik ten Hag won the domestic double with de Jong in their time at Ajax
De Jong was reportedly sceptical about moving to Manchester, but Sportsmail reported Barca head coach Xavi was involved in the Dutchman’s decision to leave Spain.
The move would see the 25-year-old Dutchman reunite with the Red Devils’ new manager Erik ten Hag, who is in the process of adapting Manchester United after several fraught seasons. Together they won the domestic double at Ajax, as well as reaching the Champions League semi-final in 2019.
It was something Bent noted as well in the reasoning behind the high-profile transfer, taking de Jong into a fight for position against Fred and Scott McTominay.
‘He knows the manager,’ Bent added. ‘He knows him really well, I feel he can get the best out of him. He can be the start of this rebuild he’ll do down there at Old Trafford.
‘I think it’s a better move for Manchester United getting a player of this quality. They need someone in that position. You look at Fred and McTominay.
‘McTominay I like him, he tries really hard, works really hard. Fred had a good second half of the season. He was the butt of all jokes, Fred, but I thought he stepped up in the second half of the season, did relatively well.
Bent believes Scott McTominay is one of the players that de Jong will be fighting for position
‘But getting someone like Frankie de Jong in there. He’s a top, top player. I’ve liked him ever since I saw him at Ajax.’
De Jong made 98 appearances for Barcelona since 2019, and scored eight times for the Catalan giants.
He has also been an important part of the Dutch national team which finished second in the UEFA Nations League in 2019.