What Man Utd targets Frenkie De Jong, Antony, Jurrien Timber & Edson Alvarez have said about Erik ten Hag
The current and former Ajax players have given their opinions on the Manchester United manager.
As the transfer window enters its third week, Manchester United continue to be linked with moves for Erik ten Hag’s former Ajax players.
It feels like the Red Devils have been reportedly pursuing half of the Dutch club’s 2021/22 roster, as well as several former players who have since moved on.
Frenkie De Jong remains the name most talked about when it comes to a move to Old Trafford, while current Ajax men Antony, Jurrien Timber and Edson Alvarez are reportedly among United’s targets.
Ten Hag appears to be a fan of this quartet, but what do they think of him? We’ve had a look through some past quotes to ascertain whether they’d be interested in playing under the 52-year-old again.
‘Quality isn’t enough’
De Jong seems to be inching closer to a move to United, despite his repeated insistence that he wishes to stay at Barca.
Given his recent comments about Ten Hag, it seems that if he were on the move, Old Trafford would be a realistic destination for the midfielder.
“I understand that that link [to United] is made,” he told Algemeen Dagblad earlier this month. “That sum is not that difficult, it is logical. I have enjoyed working with Ten Hag at Ajax and I can’t look into the future, of course. But I prefer to stay at Barcelona.”
In a separate interview with ESPN in 2019, De Jong also explained how Ten Hag managed to hone the skills of a talented Ajax team that were minutes away from qualifying for a Champions League final.
“You can have quality players, but you need good tactics as well. I think it’s one of the most important things today in football and for me, we had amazing tactics,” the Netherlands international explained.
“Every game I had the feeling: ‘ok we’re going to beat them because we’re going to do this, this and this and we have the quality players’. So I think a big part of the success was also the technical staff.”
Antony’s hint to Ten Hag
Antony is another player United are reportedly keen on purchasing, and it seems the winger is also interested in a move to Old Trafford, publicly telling Ten Hag he will ‘stand with’ the manager if needed.
The 22-year-old dropped the hint as part of a farewell message to the United boss as he departed the Johan Cruijff ArenA earlier this year.
"I want to wish you all the best at your new club,” he said. “I also want to thank you for everything you taught me.
"I am thankful for all the opportunities and learning every day. Know that I will always stand with you if you need me."
Antony also told De Telegraaf: “Every player under his guidance becomes a better footballer through his training.
“Since my arrival, he has given me a lot of confidence and believed in what I can do. I am grateful to him for that. I respect him very much.
“Ten Hag wants to do everything to make their team play well. He has many qualities, he knows how to improve the players he coaches.”
Timber ‘won’t forget’ Ten Hag impact
Speculation that Jurrien Timber is inbound at Old Trafford has cooled this week, with reports suggesting he’s to remain at Ajax beyond this summer.
However, in the transfer market things can move quickly, and the defender evidently enjoyed his time working under the new United manager.
He told Het Parool: “Ten Hag has been very important to me personally.
"Under him I became the footballer, the man I am today. The coach talked to me a lot. He’s been very critical, in a good, constructive way. I won’t forget that anytime soon."
Alvarez suits Ten Hag tactics
While reports of United signing Timber have waned, rumours that Alvarez will join instead have grown.
The defender was signed by Ten Hag in 2019 from Mexican side America, and clearly felt at home in Amsterdam, while he’s also previously admitted he would be interested in a move to the Premier League.
Should one materialise, United look like a safe bet following comments Alvarez made regarding Ten Hag’s tactics at Ajax.
“I like our playing style and how we put pressure,” the centre-back told Voetbalzone.
“Many teams are waiting for their opponent, but we are not. At Ajax you have to put constant pressure, for 90 minutes and I love that vision.”