Donny van de Beek to Manchester United is edging closer and the Dutch midfielder is a bit of a bargain at the reported $55 million transfer fee, as he’s completed his medical according to our partners at Sky Sports.
What will Van de Beek, 23, bring to the party in Man United’s midfield?
It is perhaps not an area that Man United really needed to strengthen, with Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay in the holding areas and Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Andreas Pereira in the more advanced central midfield roles.
So, why sign Van de Beek? He does a little bit of everything very well and is very versatile, plus he is on the same levels as Pogba and Fernandes and the others just aren’t. The Dutch international scores goals, creates chances and links up midfield and attack with fluid movement and is keen to get into the box and join the attack whenever he can.
Sounds like Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, right?
Long-term, Man United fans may be thinking that Pogba could be on his way out. He has another year left on his current contract, with the option of another, but his agent Mino Raiola believes the French star will remain at Old Trafford. It could be the case that one of Pogba, Fernandes or van de Beek start out wide and drift inside to give Man United a totally different option to Martial, Rashford and Greenwood in attack.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also played a 3-4-3 system on many occasions, as well as his preferred 4-3-3 (which is sort of a 4-2-3-1), and van de Beek is a smooth mover with and without the ball who can slot in to so many positions across midfield and is fine with sitting deeper.
With Man United needing to sign a slightly more attacking player (ahem, Jadon Sancho) and a center back (ahem, Dayot Upamecano), signing another creative central midfielder seems like a luxury buy, on the surface of things.
But while Man United wait to sign Jadon Sancho, van de Beek can fill that wide role too and United could play in a diamond in midfield with Matic sitting, Pogba and van de Beek either side of him and Fernandes in the No. 10 role with Rashford and Martial up top and Greenwood ready to come off the bench.
Van de Beek is a very good player and has been so close to a move to Real Madrid which has broken down a few times due to financials not being ironed out. With Hakim Ziyech, Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt all sold, the core of Ajax’s stunning young team which reached the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League semifinals is now gone.
Dusan Tadic is pretty much the last man standing from that attacking unit which ripped some of Europe’s biggest clubs apart, but Donny van de Beek was an unsung hero in that team and he can control the tempo of games from central midfield.
Here’s a look at what the arrival of Donny van de Beek can do for Man United and he will provide them not only with tactical flexibility but also extra quality on the ball. Fun fact: his girlfriend’s father is Dennis Bergkamp, who has advised him to move to the Premier League.
Midfield combinations, Donny van de Beek to Manchester United
Option 1 (in a 4-3-3 formation)
—- Van de Beek —- Fernandes —- Matic —-
—- Greenwood — Martial —- Rashford —-
Option 2 (in a 4-4-2 diamond)
—– Matic —–
—- Van de Beek —- Pogba —-
—– Fernandes —–
Option 3 (in a 4-2-3-1 system)
—– Pogba —– Matic —–
—- Van de Beek — Fernandes —- Rashford —-
—— Martial —–