Erik ten Hag to seriously consider Fabián Ruiz if Manchester United misses out on Frenkie de Jong

Ruiz has been one of the standout performers for SSC Napoli over the last four years but is entering into the last year of his contract in southern Italy

Manchester United open their Premier League program at Old Trafford tomorrow against Graham Potter’s over-achieving Brighton outfit, with Erik ten Hag making his full managerial debut for the Red Devils since his summer arrival after leaving Dutch giants AFC Ajax.

But one face is still missing from the United fold as the 2022-23 season has begun; Frenkie de Jong.

The 25-year-old Dutch international remains on the books of Spanish giants Barcelona, who remain intent on keeping the midfielder at the Camp Nou despite financial issues cropping up once again as well as continued interest from Chelsea in securing his services before the window closes.

As such, the Red Devils have been made to consider alternatives that are capable and worthy of the void left by French star Paul Pogba after his return to Juventus this summer, and one of the leading candidates is said to be Fabián Ruiz per reports from Goal’s James Robson.

Ruiz, 26, is a product of the academy set up at Real Betis before logging four credible seasons in La Liga, which resulted in Serie A upstarts SSC Napoli bringing him to southern Italy in 2018.

There, Ruiz has been one of the leading lights at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona for four years, chipping in 18 goals and a further 15 assists, while offering a very effective platform in which he is capable of both controlling possession but also driving play forward.

Despite United securing Christian Eriksen on a free transfer while also boasting Bruno Fernandes in the creative engine room, United lacks genuine creativity apart from the aforementioned pair, with Ten Hag’s system heavily reliant on multiple avenues for goals to flood through.

Most importantly, the notion that Ruiz is entering the final year of his current deal in Naples would present United with a far more affordable option to De Jong, with Ruiz possibly being available for under £30m.

United has done well to bring in Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, and the aforementioned Eriksen, but with Pogba still not replaced as the season begins, it remains imperative that the club finds alternative solutions to what has otherwise been one of the most pressing questions asked in the early weeks of Ten Hag’s regime.

Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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