In an interview with Manchester Evening News former head of Manchester United youth recruitment Derek Langley stated that the English giants were recommended Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong before either had made their Ajax debuts.

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The two Eredivisie and Oranje stars are arguably the two most in-demand young talents in world football at the moment, having been linked with multi-million euro moves to several of Europe’s top clubs – but they almost ended up in England as 16 and 18-year-old’s.

Langey 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.”

Manchester United’s eventual decision not to move for the Dutch pair paved the way for Langley’s exit from the club, frustrated at how many top talents were not being recruited. 

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