Why Donny van de Beek would be a statement signing for Man United
According to the Evening Standard (h/t Mirror), Man United are set to prioritise a move for Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek this summer, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keen to secure a few key players ahead of the upcoming Premier League campaign.
The Red Devils have also been linked with a move for Jack Grealish, but as per the report, United would prefer van de Beek, with Aston Villa holding out for a fee close to £50million for their star attacker.
A product of the widely-revered Ajax youth system, Donny van de Beek made his first-team debut for the Dutch giants back during the 2015-16 campaign.
He eventually established himself as one of the mainstays of Ajax’s midfield in the following campaign, featuring prominently en route the club’s march to the final of the 2016-17 UEFA Europa League.
Van de Beek soon carved out a reputation for himself as one of the most dynamic goalscoring midfielders in the Eredivisie before showcasing his vast potential on the continental stage.
The Dutchman was one of the key architects of Ajax’s fairytale march to the semi-final of the 2018-19 Champions League, where he caught the eye and contributed with 3 goals and 2 assists in 12 appearances.
The 23-year-old boasts an impressive tally of 41 goals and 34 assists in 175 appearances for Ajax across all competitions, having finished 28th in the race for the 2019 Ballon d’Or award.
The current state of Man United’s midfield
With Paul Pogba facing a long injury layoff during the first half of the previous campaign, United seemed to lack that much-needed creativity and X-Factor in their midfield. However, things took a complete U-turn in the positive direction following the arrival of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon back in the January transfer window.
The Portuguese star contributed with 8 goals and 7 assists in 14 PL appearances towards the back end of the season, making an instant impact in English football. It was largely due to his exploits that Solskjaer’s brigade romped home to a third-place finish and secured qualification to next year’s Champions League.
The likes of Nemanja Matic and Fred showed massive improvement in the middle and that coupled with Pogba’s timely return to action, proved to be a decisive factor for United in the Premier League this season.
Why Donny van de Beek would make a great addition
Make no mistake, United currently have enough depth in their midfield ranks but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look for upgrades on their existing options. The likes of Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira have been quite mediocre and inconsistent while Juan Mata and Matic, both 32, are nearing the twilight of their careers.
Plus, Pogba’s long-term future at Old Trafford remains pretty much up in the air, with the Frenchman yet to extend his contract beyond 2021. The fans will be hoping that he stays put after putting up a devastating partnership with Bruno Fernandes, but nothing can be taken for granted.
Regardless of Pogba’s future, Man United making a move for Donny van de Beek would hand a massive boost to their midfield cavalry for a number of reasons. The Dutchman boasts the versatility to play in defensive, box-to-box, and central attacking roles in the middle while his proven track record of goals and assists is something that should also appeal to the Red Devils.
Despite the strike force of Martial, Rashford, and Greenwood sharing 44 league goals among them last season and Bruno also making a significant contribution, United’s overall tally of 66 goals was nowhere near what Liverpool (85) and Man City (102) achieved.
So, United need more goals from their midfielders if they are to challenge the likes of Man City and Liverpool for the PL title next season, and van de Beek certainly seems better equipped in that regard as compared to the likes of Pereira, Lingard, McTominay, Fred, and Matic. (They shared only 6 league goals among them this term)
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Suffice to say, a goalscoring and versatile midfielder like Donny van de Beek would add a lot of value to United’s midfield unit.
The 23-year-old still has his best years ahead of him and considering that he has already proven his mettle in the Champions League, it should be an absolute no-brainer for the Red Devils to go ahead with their interest in the Dutch international.