Manchester United are trying to rope in a few players this season and one slot that they must consider at this moment is the central-midfield. Paul Pogba’s future hangs in the balance as the French star may leave the Red Devils for greener pastures, and United should find a replacement for him sooner rather than later.
As it seems, they have identified Donny van de Beek as a possible target this summer. De Telegraaf reports (as cited by Marca) that United would clash heads with Real Madrid for the signature of the Ajax midfielder. Before the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial impact of the same, the Dutch side had made an agreement with Los Blancos for the transfer of the star, but the current situation has affected those plans.
Van de Beek’s role at Ajax
The 23-year-old has been instrumental in the recent success of the club as the manager has used him in several positions. Last season, while Frenkie de Jong was manning the midfield for his side, van de Beek was used in a more advanced position. He was given the freedom to move up and join the team in the attack. However, the transfer of de Jong to Barcelona has meant that van de Beek moved into a more defensive role for the side. It can be fairly said that both these roles have suited him to perfection.
Even though Erik ten Hag has made him play in a deeper role this term, the Netherlands international has managed to score 14 goals for his club across all competitions. He has also assisted his teammates seven times this season and created 1.8 key passes in the league.
Defensively he has done decently averaging two tackles per game in the Eredivisie. He has also racked up 0.7 interceptions per match. However, the influence of van de Beek cannot be only measured in statistics as he has an overall dominant presence in the game. His tendency to intercept the through balls of the opposition, therefore recovering possession for his team is what makes him such a vital member of the squad, and United would be fortunate to have him in their ranks.
Would he be a replacement of Pogba?
The French star has failed to justify his price tag in a United shirt, and as it seems, the manager does not include him in his plans. If we have to go by the figures, the Dutchman can undoubtedly match the French player, but many would suggest that the ex-Juventus star has a creative spark in him which could not be put in numbers. Even if that be the case, van de Beek is a worthy replacement for the World Cup winner as he can match him in flair and creativity. Moreover, the Ajax player is much more versatile, and Ole Gunnar Solskjær would be able to use him in several slots in the side.
Paul Pogba, at the best of his form, could be a player who is unrivalled and unplayable against, but that Pogba looks like a man from the past. If the current scenario is considered, Donny van de Beek can be the man for the Manchester United side for a long time to come, one who could partner with the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Fred to take the Red Devils back to their perch.
Stats from Whoscored.