Casemiro vs Frenkie de Jong: Man Utd sign Brazillian after De Jong deal stalls

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.

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

How do the players compare?

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Casemiro has been Real’s deep distribution hub, compared with De Jong’s attacking combinations down the left of Barcelona’s attack.

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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.

Casemiro fires a far higher frequency of long passes – which makes his accuracy all the more impressive.

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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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.

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.

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


Tandoh Enoch is a Social Media Manager, Website Developer and Designer, Blogger, Content Writer and an IT Consultant . He is a creator and editor at, an online digital platform focusing on Credible and Timely news in Ghana and worldwide.

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