There was a sense of buzz and excitement among the Manchester United supporters when Donny van de Beek was signed in 2020. He was the club’s first signing last season, bought from Ajax for an initial fee of around £36m on a five-year contract, but the initial enthusiasm soon faded away as the Dutchman struggled to find regular game time.
This scenario has continued this season as well, with the 24-year-old midfielder mostly appearing and staying on the bench. With no improvement in his situation, reports have emerged that his agent is trying to finalise an exit from Old Trafford.
Donny van de Beek arrived at the club on the back of a good goal involvement record, with 41 goals and 34 assists in 175 appearances for the Dutch club. He played an important role in Ajax’s semi-final run in the 2018-19 Champions League season.
Thus, it’s evident that he arrived at Old Trafford with high expectations. However, he managed to feature in just 19 Premier League games last season, starting only four matches. He has had to compete with Fernandes, Pogba, McTominay, Fred and Matic for a place in the midfield.
As we approached the new season, it was hoped that Solskjaer will give Van de Beek more minutes, but there has hardly been any change in his situation. The Dutch midfielder only has one league appearance to his name in seven games, which totals for just six minutes coming off the bench.
In other competitions, he started one Carabao Cup match against West Ham and one Champions League match against Young Boys. To add to his worries, the Red Devils lost both those games. The lack of playing time has led to visible frustration on the player’s face.
Van de Beek appeared to be displeased seeing Solskjaer prefer Fred over him in the Champions League fixture against Villareal. The manager again did not play him against Everton, which ended in a 1-1 draw. This has sent the rumour mills on an overdrive regarding the Dutch midfielder’s future at Old Trafford.
???? Donny van de Beek's agents have been working hard for weeks to study an exit plan for him in January. #mufc would like to recoup at least partially of the total €45m [including bonuses] they paid for him – which promises to be impossible at the moment. [@86_longo, @cmdotcom] pic.twitter.com/sVCeNAr9IJ
— UtdDistrict (@UtdDistrict) October 4, 2021
According to Italian news outlet Calciomercato (via Mirror), Van de Beek is looking for new options as the winter transfer window draws closer. The report claimed that several top Italian clubs including Juventus, AC Milan and Serie A champions Inter Milan have expressed interest in signing the talented Dutch midfielder.
It is very unlikely that United would let him go for anything less than what he cost them last season. However, given his playing time under Solskjaer, it might be tough to get such a price for the midfielder. The report also stated that Van de Beek’s agent has already started searching for a new club, months before the January transfer window. The report indicated that Juventus could seek the help of Matthijs de Ligt to convince his fellow Dutch compatriot and former Ajax teammate to switch over to the Bianconeri.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opened up about the situation of Donny van de Beek ahead of the match against Everton. He said:
“I manage a squad full of international footballers, competitive footballers who want to make a difference, want to play. They all want to be on the pitch, of course, they do,”
“Donny was ready to come on [against Villarreal], as all the players should be. I’ve probably been a substitute more than anyone in this club and you have to be ready all the time.
“I’ve not been very happy a few times, but that’s just a decision the manager makes. Alex (Telles) was coming off as a left-back and Fred did that job well.
“I understand the frustration. Every player is keen to play. That’s got to be built into energy and some determination for when you get on and then show me. That is not just Donny, that is all the players.”
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