The Independent reports that Ten Hag is still eager to sign De Jong, having missed out on the Barcelona midfielder in the summer.
The Dutchman appeared to be Ten Hag’s priority signing, but the player always wanted to remain at the Nou Camp.
Nevertheless, the Manchester United boss has remained in contact with Barca over resurrecting a deal for De Jong as he views him as integral to his project at Old Trafford.
However, there is a stumbling block in Ten Hag’s potential future pursuit of his former Ajax midfielder and that comes in the form of Bellingham.
United chiefs view the English teenage midfielder as a possible generational talent and a player of whom could be a mainstay in the Red Devils’ midfield for the next decade.
Ten Hag and United’s higher-ups are clashing over which of De Jong or Bellingham should be targeted.
De Jong may have remained at Barca following intense speculation over a potential move to Manchester United.
Yet, he has not been a regular starter this season under Xavi Hernandez.
The Spanish coach even suggested he would start fielding the Dutch midfielder in centre-defense.
De Jong has made nine appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal. He has four years left on his current contract with Barca.
Meanwhile, Bellingham is quickly becoming one of Europe’s most sought-after talents and recently captained Dortmund at just the age of 19.
The English teenager has made 13 appearances in all competitions, scoring four goals and providing two assists.
Bellingham has three years left on his current deal at Signal Iduna Park.
Manchester United need to allow Ten Hag to make his own decision
Manchester United have entrusted in Ten Hag to rebuild the stagnating Red Devils side in his own image.
With that, comes the need for the Dutch tactician to be allowed to make decisions regarding comings and goings at Old Trafford.
If Ten Hag feels that De Jong is a more worthy midfielder for his side than United should back their manager rather than replicate their recent transfer policy.
Ten Hag has always spoken about finding the right player for his team and it appears that De Jong is his prime target to bolster his midfield.
United currently sit fifth in the league and trail leaders Arsenal by nine points after nine games.