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Ex-scout: 'Manchester United turned down Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong'

Ex-scout: 'United turned down De Ligt, De Jong'
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Derek Langley, who worked as Man United's head of youth player recruitment until 2016, claims that the club missed out on the chance to nab two of Ajax's rising stars.

Manchester United turned down the chance to sign Ajax duo Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong, according to the club's former scout Derek Langley.

Both players are reportedly in high demand ahead of the opening of the January transfer window, being linked with moves to the likes of Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

The Red Devils are also among the rumoured suitors for De Ligt and De Jong, valued at a combined £120m, but Langley claims that United could have nabbed the youngsters for a lot cheaper.

Langley, who was sacked as head of youth player recruitment in July 2016 following a 16-year tenure at Old Trafford, has also revealed that RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano was previously on United's radar.

"The players that they turned down? Matthijs de Ligt. We had God knows how many reports on Matthijs de Ligt," he told the Manchester Evening News. "Frenkie de Jong and all these players now are sort of around Europe. Dayot Upamecano, who is now at RB 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."

De Ligt and De Jong, aged 19 and 21 respectively, made their Ajax debuts in 2016.

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Frenkie de Jong during an Ajax training session on September 18, 2018
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