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Casemiro vs Frenkie de Jong: Man Utd sign Brazil midfielder from Real Madrid after De Jong deal stalls

Man Utd sign Brazil international Casemiro from Real Madrid; United failed to finalise deal to sign Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong to date; how do transfer targets' playing styles compare?


Manchester United have signed Casemiro for £70m and are reportedly still pursuing Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong - but how do the two players differ?

Erik ten Hag described the Brazilian as "the cement between the stones" in midfield after the 30-year-old was paraded in front of fans ahead of the impressive 2-1 win over Liverpool on Monday.

Meanwhile, Man Utd have not given up hope of signing De Jong and have a broad agreement worth £72m in place - but the potential move has dragged on for far longer than the club wanted or anticipated.

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Erik ten Hag gives his pre-match thoughts ahead of Manchester United's clash against Liverpool, including the latest on Casemiro.

But how do the transfer targets compare and what would Casemiro offer Man Utd?

How do the players compare?

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Casemiro has been spotted at Old Trafford ahead of Manchester United's Premier League clash against Liverpool tonight.

Casemiro excels in the No 6 destroyer role, ranking among the elite for reclaiming possession in the middle third and winning tackles and duels in La Liga last season.


Heat maps from the players' performances in the Champions League last season clearly show how De Jong is typically deployed in a more advanced, left-of-centre, role, whereas Casemiro sits far deeper.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - JULY 19: FC Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong (21) during the preseason friendly between FC Barcelona and Inter Miami CF on July 19, 2022 at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Image: Manchester United have been pursuing a deal for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong all summer

The radar below compares their per-90 returns in La Liga last term and provides further evidence of how De Jong surpasses his rival in attacking metrics but is notably inferior defensively.

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Roy Keane, Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville discuss whether Casemiro's move to Manchester United is a good signing or not.

In terms of distribution, again, the Brazilian is most active in the central region of his own half, but contributes in all other areas of the pitch, box to box, in equal measure.


The passing networks below highlight how Casemiro has been Real's deep distribution hub, compared with De Jong's attacking combinations down the left of Barcelona's attack.


As a result of playing deeper, the Real midfielder, unsurprisingly, registers more forward passes, but is notably reluctant to pass towards his own goal and records an almost even spread of angles upfield with impressive accuracy.


The graphic below elaborates further and shows the passing distances of both players, revealing how Casemiro fires a far higher frequency of long passes - which makes his accuracy all the more impressive.


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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester United’s win against Liverpool in the Premier League.

The Brazilian provides a shield of cover for his defence, whereas De Jong makes defensive actions evenly between both boxes and has a lower ratio of actions in the graphic below - having played only 523 minutes in the Champions League last term, compared with Casemiro's 914.


However, Casemiro is unlikely to improve Man Utd's progression upfield with the ball at his feet, typically only carrying the ball 96m per 90 minutes in the Champions League last term, of which 50.8m was upfield - ranking 342nd and 312th, respectively.

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South American football expert Tim Vickery gives greater insight into Casemiro and Matheus Cunha's chances of joining Manchester United and if the moves would work out.

In contrast, De Jong ran 182.9m per game with the ball, and half of that distance was directed towards the opponent's goal - but those returns still only rank 82nd and 86th across the competition.

Carry distance per 90, CL, 2021/22

Carry distance/90 (m) Carry progess/90 (m)
Frenkie de Jong 182.9m (82nd) 96.7m (86th)
Casemiro 95.6m (342nd) 50.8m (312th)

However, Ten Hag's side are finally set to sign a defensive midfielder in Casemiro and the five-time Champions League winner will offer pedigree and solidity for a side who shipped six goals in their opening two games.

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An emotional Casemiro broke down in tears during his Real Madrid farewell speech ahead of his move to Manchester United.

De Jong? Expect that one to rumble on, down to the wire...

Antony: Man Utd likely to submit improved

Ajax star Antony
Image: Ajax star Antony

Manchester United are likely to go in with an improved offer to sign Ajax winger Antony but the Dutch team's manager has taken a swipe at Man Utd's lack of Champions League football.

The Red Devils are thought to be encouraged that Antony's omission from the Ajax squad for Sunday's 1-0 win over Sparta Rotterdam is the latest indication the player wants to move to Old Trafford.

One source has told Sky Sports News the player is "not mentally right" to play following Man Utd's £67.9m (€80m) bid.

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Dutch football expert Marcel Van der Kraan brings perspective from the Netherlands on why Cody Gakpo is so highly rated in Europe, and why Erik ten Hag is so desperate to bring him to Manchester United.

Man Utd are reluctant to pay more than £67.9m but are now exploring a new offer with an improved structure of payments.

They are prepared to walk away from a deal if the numbers are too high and remain interested in PSV's Cody Gakpo and Chelsea's Christian Pulisic. Pulisic was named on the substitutes' bench for Chelsea's trip to Elland Road to play Leeds on Sunday.

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