Manchester United’s interest in Donny van de Beek is not new. They have been tracking him since last summer and considered signing him before opting to fork out a big fee for Bruno Fernandes this January.
The Premier League giants have again been linked with a move for him and the club are in talks with his agents over a proposed move. There are also suggestions that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has personally spoken to the player and has convinced him to consider a move to Manchester United.
Van de Beek is also available for a relatively reasonable fee of €40m, with Ajax accepting that the player is keen to move onto a bigger stage after coming through the ranks with the Dutch giants.
While an offer is yet to be tabled, Manchester United share a close relationship with Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar and are unlikely to face many hurdles in getting the deal done if they put in the right bid.
What will Donny van de Beek add to Manchester United?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s need for strength and depth in his squad was made apparent towards the end of the season. He found his first choice midfield in Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes but had little faith in the options he had on the bench, especially creatively.
While Fred and Scott McTominay provide cover for Matic, Solskjaer doesn’t have a creative player who would be able to do the same for Fernandes and Pogba. Manchester United hold an interest in Jack Grealish but Aston Villa are likely to price him out of a move.
The interest in Donny van de Beek makes more sense as the Dutchman has the ability to play an array of roles in the middle of the park. While primarily an attacking midfielder, he can also play both as a number 6 and number 8.
Van de Beek scored 10 goals and registered 11 assists last season at Ajax and will add one more creative options to Manchester United’s midfield. His arrival will likely lessen the burden on Fernandes and Pogba and allow Solskjaer to rotate the squad in a way that he couldn’t towards the end of last season.
Like Fernandes, Van de Beek likes to take risks with his passing and is always looking to play the ball forward. However, he is very good at circulating the ball in midfield and keeping possession in order to control the flow of the game.
The Dutchman will add more variety to Solskjaer’s midfield options and his versatility will allow the Manchester United manager to try out different combinations for different games.
He is the alternative to Jack Grealish and could turn out to be the shrewder signing. Unlike the Aston Villa captain, Van de Beek has already played at the top level of European football and was the heartbeat of the Ajax team that made it to the Champions League semi-finals last year.
The Dutchman is also available for half the price that Aston Villa are likely to demand for Grealish. It just makes more sense for Manchester United to sign Van de Beek than pay a massive fee for the Villa captain.
Are other clubs interest in Donny van de Beek?
Real Madrid had a deal in place to sign him in January but they backed out at the last moment. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse effect on their finances and the club have already made it clear that they are unlikely to sign any players for big money this summer. They are not believed to be interested in the Dutchman at the moment.
Ronald Koeman has asked the Barcelona board to sign the midfielder as well but even the Catalan giants are more interested in selling players before signing anyone. They have the biggest wage bill in world football and their priority is to sell some ageing big earners at the moment.
The Catalan giants could still be interested but there are question marks whether they will be prepared to stump up €40m at this stage of the window. Ajax’s decision to omit him from their squad suggested that a transfer is imminent and they more or less communicated the same message.
It seems the stage is clear for Manchester United to do a deal if they want to and it seems the club are moving towards securing their first significant signing of the summer in Van de Beek.