By 90Min
December 11, 2018

Manchester United's former head of recruitment, Derek Langley, has the revealed the club passed up the opportunity to sign both Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt before either player had made their Ajax debut. 

De Jong, 21, and De Ligt, 19, are two of Europe's most promising youngsters having become key figures for both Ajax and the Netherlands in recent seasons, with some of the continent's biggest club's linked with the pair, including Manchester City and Barcelona. 

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While the duo are set to command a sizeable fee should any club wish to sign them both, Langley, who has scouted the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Gerard Pique for the club, had recommended both to United prior to their emergence at the Amsterdam-based club. 

Asked by the Manchester Evening News regarding players they turned down, he said: "Players that they turned down? Matthijs de Ligt. We had God knows how many reports on Matthijs de Ligt. Frenkie de Jong and all these players now are sort of around Europe. Dayot Upamecano, who is now at Red Bull Leipzig, was another.


"This was one of the reasons why I had a meeting with Ed Woodward and I told him that I wasn't convinced with the competency of certain people at the club. I told Ed Woodward quite straight: 'If you think I'm going to sit here and just tell you what you want to hear, I'm not that man because I'm going to tell you exactly how I see it'."

De Jong has made 23 club appearances this season, while Ajax captain De Ligt has made 25 appearances, with the pair helping the club reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2005/06.

They've also enjoyed early success with the national team, having helped the Netherlands reach the finals of the UEFA Nations League next summer. 

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