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28th Jun 2017

Manchester United linked with Dutch midfielder after Jose Mourinho quote from March surfaces

The price tag would almost make you believe it

Patrick McCarry

Manchester United paying out less than £10m for a new signing? It doesn’t seem believable.

And yet there is something about seeing ‘Manchester United’ and ‘£8.8m’ in media reports that gives you pause for thought.

United are set to strengthen their midfield considerably this summer, with both Fabinho [Monaco] and Nemanja Matic [Chelsea] linked with moves to Old Trafford. Victor Lindelof is already on United’s books and Alvaro Morata is set to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front.

Marten De Roon seems certain to leave Middlesbrough after their relegation from the Premier League last season. The Dutch international made 36 appearances in the Boro midfield, in 2016/17, and scored five times.

He was brought to the club from Italian side Atalanta and reports in Italy state former Boro boss Aitor Karanka recommended de Roon to Mourinho. The pair were coach and assistant coach at Real Madrid and remain close.

What has added credence to the De Roon story is a quote Mourinho told the press after United had beaten Boro 3-1 back in March. He commented:

“This kid De Roon is phenomenal, his work-rate is phenomenal. They’re solid and they play direct. We had to fight it, and I have to admit, it was hard for us.”

The 26-year-old also impressed in Boro’s hard-fought 1-1 draw with Manchester City, heading in a fine goal at the back post, and he scored the winner against Sunderland.

There are also reports that Atalanta want De Roon back but they may not be willing to go as high as the £15m they sold him for last summer.