Man Utd’s lessons from Paul Pogba backlash pose Frenkie De Jong transfer headache

Manchester United appear to be doing all they can to lure Barcelona‘s Frenkie De Jong to Old Trafford, but in order to move forward, the Red Devils must look to the past.

The Dutch midfielder is understood to be one of the club’s top priorities this summer as new manager Erik ten Hag looks to use his Ajax influence to persuade some of his finest young stars to join him on his almighty quest to return United to the game’s summit. De Jong is understandably among them, however, United must approach with caution.

As much as Ten Hag and his new employers are keen to acquire the 25-year-old, they simply cannot afford to upset the apple cart once again. As Paul Pogba edges closer to an underwhelming departure, United must ensure they avoid repeating the same mistakes when it comes to De Jong.

And arguably one of the biggest errors relating to Pogba relates to finances. Having failed to tie the Frenchman down to a new deal prior to this season, United subsequently acted out of desperation.

Despite the World Cup winner having failed to consistently produce the quality he undoubtedly possesses, the thought of losing the player they paid a then-world-record fee of £89million for back in 2016, for nothing seemingly contributed to the club’s rash reaction. United put forward an offer to Pogba worth a whopping £500,000-per-week.

It was a reckless decision which backfired in more ways than one. Not only did the player himself reject the terms before continuing to plot his Old Trafford escape, but news of the proposal was, understandingly, met with anger by the rest of the United squad.

Do you think Man Utd should make Frenkie de Jong their highest paid player if it means he signs? Have your say in the comments section.

United's mammoth offer to Paul Pogba earlier in the season was understood to be met with backlash from the rest of the club's players

United’s mammoth offer to Paul Pogba earlier in the season was understood to be met with backlash from the rest of the club’s players
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In early April, following reports of the mammoth offer, a United source claimed the club would be faced with mutiny in the dressing room should Pogba have accepted the sizeable deal, with others demanding the same parity in wages. The source said: “Some of the players think it’s out of order he could be getting twice as much as they’re when he hardly starts a game and talks about leaving all the time.”

The arrival of Ten Hag has been built up as a changing of the guard at the club and the dawn of a new era, however, United’s pursuit of De Jong could jeopardise all hope of reestablishing some much-needed stability at Old Trafford. According to the Daily Star, United are willing make the Dutch international the highest paid player on the club’s books.

It’s little wonder De Jong is understood to be ‘impressed’ by United’s determination to land him when reported wages of £395,000-per-week are being tabled. If true, it appears United haven’t learn from their mistakes.

A testing campaign has been fraught with talk of dressing room unrest and player disgruntlement, and the perplexing package poked Pogba’s way hardly helped patch things back together. As the club seek to devise a deal to land De Jong, they simply cannot make the same mistake of paying over the odds when it comes to wages, in a desperate attempt to secure their top transfer target.

After all, Ten Hag has been tasked with repairing a broken dressing room, not creating further divides. Handing De Jong such wages will do little to endear him to his new squad.

While it may pain United to do so, perhaps taking a leaf out of Liverpool’s book is the way to go. Jurgen Klopp has built a remarkable bond both with and between his players in recent seasons.

Erik ten Hag must avoid causing further fractures in the United dressing room over De Jong's wages

Erik ten Hag must avoid causing further fractures in the United dressing room over De Jong’s wages
Getty Images)

There remain question marks over whether Mohamed Salah will commit to a new deal amid continued speculation that financial demands are proving to be a sticking point in negotiations. However, Liverpool appear intent on not succumbing to Salah’s stipulations, seemingly to allay creating any unrest in the dressing room.

While United already failed to that end earlier in the season with regard to Pogba, they must now avoid making such a mistake with De Jong. United are in dire need of a player – a midfielder, in particular – of the Barcelona maestro’s quality, but not if it’ll once again be to the detriment of the rest of the squad.

With United unable to offer the lure of Champions League football next season, they may have to get creative when it comes to tempting star names to Old Trafford. The club can learn a lot from the many mistakes relating to Pogba, and one of the main lessons is that compromising wage balance within the squad never ends well.

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