Former Youth Team Boss Reveals Recommendations
Manchester United rejected the chance to sign Ajax youngsters Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt but chose not to pursue either player.
The claim comes from former head of youth recruitment Denis Langley.
“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,” Langley told the Manchester Evening News.
“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’.
“I think it was possibly part of my downfall as to why seven months down the line I was removed because I wouldn’t tow the line in relation to telling them exactly what I thought.
“It’s one of them things in football – you come to accept it. Manchester United thanked me for the time I spent there and the players I’d taken in, but ultimately we could have been so much better if people had listened.”
Both De Jong and De Ligt are still at Ajax and the pair are each rated at around £50million by the Dutch side.
De Jong is being linked with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City as well as United. De Ligt has never been on the club’s radar though he has been linked with interest from Tottenham Hotspur.
United were closer to Upamecano when he was with Valenciennes and they agreed a fee with the French club during the January 2015 transfer window. However, the deal collapsed over personal terms and Upamecano later moved to RB Leipzig.