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Manchester United have been warned that they will look desperate if they try and sign Frenkie de Jong again. The Barcelona star was Erik ten Hag’s top target across most of last summer’s transfer window however the Red Devils were unable to get the deal over the line as he wished to remain at the Camp Nou instead.

United have been heavily linked with a move for De Jong since Ten Hag was named manager in April 2022 with the 53-year-old keen for a reunion with one of his key Ajax stars. The Dutch international had appeared to have fallen somewhat out of favour at Barcelona with the La Liga giants reportedly keen to move him on to help in their battle against financial fair play regulations.

The Red Devils agreed a deal worth at least £63million for the player in July according to The Athletic but it was not enough to bring him to Old Trafford. De Jong was said to be reluctant to make the move to the north-west following the club’s dismal season and remained in Spain.

United moved for Casemiro instead and the Brazilian has been central to the club’s on-field improvement under Ten Hag. There have been some suggestions that the Red Devils may try to sign De Jong again in the summer and that the Dutchman may be more tempted by the move given the club’s promising season.

However, United legend Andy Cole has warned his old side against from making the move, stating it would make them look desperate.

“I look at it from the outside, is Frenkie de Jong the midfield player that could do a job for Manchester United? No he’s no,” he told King Casino Bonus. “De Jong is a very good player and there is no disputing that, but if you look at last season’s transfer saga and you have to wonder why would Manchester United want to put themselves in that position again?

“They need to go for players who actually want to come to the club like Casemiro did. Going in for De Jong again makes them look desperate, this is Manchester United football club we’re talking about here, if you don’t want to play for them then move on to your next option. It’s not like Manchester United is a non-league football club, the answer to the move should be yes or no, not a maybe.”

Cole was also keen to stress that he believed United could sign anyone they really wanted given the size of the club as he urged his former team to aim high.

“I just want Manchester United to know they can go out there and attract any top player,” he explained. “It’s not about money, these top players that are available will all be fought for and paid a decent wage anyway, so that makes no difference any more.

“Players will look at their chances to win the Premier League, FA Cup or League Cup and the Champions League. Everyone wants to win their domestic league and Champions League. Look at Real Madrid’s form in La Liga compared to when they play in the Champions League, it’s like they play two separate teams but it’s just a case of mentality.”