Barcelona goalkeeper, Marc Andre ter Stegen has revealed ahead of the Europa League playoffs round that he was able to “talk” Frenkie de Jong out of joining Manchester United last summer.
De Jong was among a list of United’s top targets with whom the club had reached an agreement during the summer transfer window, with the fee for the Barcelona player potentially nearing €85 million with add-ons.
However, the transfer could not be completed as the midfielder was opposed to joining the Premier League side, with his priority set to remain at Barcelona.
Speaking with The Times, the German international spoke highly of his Dutch teammate,
“I was hoping he would stay because this is the type of player I want to have in my team,” he said to The Times.
“There were many rumours, discussions and whatever but I am just happy that he is here and I don’t want him to leave.”
“I want to make very clear, when I talked to him I tried to [make him stay]. I hope he will be here for a long time,” he added.
“He brings a lot, I have a super high opinion of him but I also expect a lot from him because he has so much talent”.
“He sees and feels football in a different way and this is why he is someone that Gavi and Pedri, for example, can look up to. And I think he’s just a great player.”
Barcelona have switched to a four-man midfield in recent games and Ter Stegen feels that this has given De Jong “a bit more freedom”.
“It is also something that benefits our game because he (De Jong) has a bit more freedom, because he is still covered by Busi (Busquets),” Ter Stegan continued.
“It’s very interesting how they communicate also, and how they manage on the field, which is very important for us”
United faces Barcelona on Thursday evening, in what promises to be a thrilling Europa League contest.