Time may not be over for Donny van de Beek at Manchester United just yet as a summer of upheaval is expected at Old Trafford under Erik ten Hag following a disastrous campaign that saw the club finish with their worst ever points tally (58 points) since 1990. Numerous prominent departures alongside the likelihood of several changes within the squad and backroom staff remain on the agenda as United look to undergo yet another rebuild.
Having already been linked to numerous players previously coached by Ten Hag, United seem likely to adhere to the Dutchman’s demands. Amongst the promising names expected to land at Old Trafford this summer, the likes of Jurrien Timber and Frenkie de Jong top the list, with both having been pivotal to Ten Hag’s ambitions and success at Ajax over his five-year tenure with the club.
Further, expected to retain his trust in a core of Dutch players at Manchester United, an otherwise peripheral figure within the squad, Donny van de Beek emerges as a name likely to be granted a fresh start under the new manager, having previously been a vital player for Ten Hag during the successful seasons at Ajax.
With the Dutchman having returned from an, arguably, disappointing loan move to Everton, Donny could emerge as a pivotal player for Ten Hag as he looks to rebuild and extract the best out of the current players at United over the upcoming campaign.
The Dutch Connection
Although having struggled for game-time under three managers at United, Ten Hag’s arrival significantly boosts Van de Beek’s odds of establishing himself as a first-team regular at the club next season. The midfielder remained on the periphery despite his promising performances and cameos during his two years at the club (stats via Transfermarkt).
Ten Hag’s appetite for recruiting a core of talented Dutch internationals along with the likelihood of developing a possession-based counter-pressing team could see the 25-year-old midfielder seamlessly fit into the manager’s plans over the upcoming season.
Having been a vital part of the first XI under Ten Hag during Ajax’s exceptional 2018/19 Champions League campaign before moving to Old Trafford, Donny is likely to undergo a rejuvenation at United. An outstanding 175 appearances for the Eredivisie club saw the midfielder establish himself amongst the most promising talents across Europe. However, inconsistent game-time at Old Trafford has seen him go down the pecking order in recent seasons.
With the Dutch manager having spoken positively about the midfielder during his first press conference at Old Trafford, saying he looks forward to meeting him on the pitch, whilst also establishing he still retains a good relationship with the player, there remains a growing intrigue about the midfielder’s role at United under the newly appointed manager.
A Team Player
Perhaps, Van de Beek’s potential to succeed at United lies not in his relationship with Ten Hag but in the possibility of him helping the Dutchman execute his footballing philosophy on the pitch over the upcoming campaign. While the current squad under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick remained direct, selfish, and indisciplined in their application on the pitch, the Ten Hag system is likely to cause a much-needed shift in the team’s approach to games next season.
Renowned for his high-pressing system, requiring his players to win back possession at the highest end of the pitch, the Dutch manager is likely to overhaul United’s current squad; focusing on recruits likely to fit into his system whilst coaching only those who are likely to carry out his commands diligently next season. Therein, Van de Beek emerges as the foremost name capable of executing his role to perfection, having previously been a first-team regular under Ten Hag.
Known for his technical security, off-the-ball movement, and ability to exploit spaces across the attacking third, the 25-year-old could emerge as a prominent figure in helping establish Ten Hag’s foundational structures on the pitch. While Donny has prominently featured in a box-to-box role for United in recent seasons, his versatility alongside his ability to find the back of the net – a hallmark of his days at Ajax – ensures Ten Hag retains a dynamic presence at his disposal.
Moreover, with Bruno Fernandes having proven to be a liability on possession in the latter half of the season, Van de Beek’s discipline and willingness to remain tidy and composed in attacking areas could see him replace the Portuguese in an attacking midfield role at the start of next season.
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A Desire To Succeed
While numerous first-team players remain likely to leave the club following an underwhelming and unprecedented season, Van de Beek’s presumed decision to remain at United showcases the Dutchman’s willingness to turn heads at Old Trafford next season. A lack of adequate game-time throughout his two years at the club resulted in him pushing for a loan move in January. However, having remained a fan favourite amidst distasteful and inconsistent performances by regular first-team competitors, the midfielder remains amongst a handful of players committed to serving United under the new management.
Moreover, with the current crop of players having delivered inexcusable performances alongside leaking dressing room stories to the press, the utilisation of an otherwise peripheral and overlooked figure such as Van de Beek will signal the beginning of a new era at United. Additionally, he is likely to outperform his competitors provided he receives adequate opportunities. Van de Beek will be keen on reviving his unsatisfying career at Old Trafford next season.
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