Thursday, October 6, 2022

Manchester United To Rival Barcelona In Pursuit Of This Eredivisie Starlet: Is He The Right Move?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, the Daily Mirror has stated that Manchester United are set to rival Barcelona in pursuit of AFC Ajax starlet Ryan Gravenberch. It is believed that the Dutch outfit are bracing themselves for a transfer battle as the Red Devils, along with Barca and Juventus, are all interested in securing the Dutch midfielder’s signature (via The Daily Mirror).

Gravenberch’s Meteoric Rise At Amsterdam Recently

The 18-year-old has been a real revelation at the Johan Cruijff ArenA since breaking out as a first-team starter under Erik ten Hag’s tutelage last season. The promising youngster has gone on to make 20 senior appearances for the Amsterdam outfit, registering four goals and three assists so far.

Gravenberch has made an eye-catching start to this Dutch Eredivisie season after being involved in six matches for his current club, picking up two assists and two yellow cards in all competitions. The four-time Netherlands Under-21 international deserves a pat on the back for influencing the game at both ends of the pitch after averaging 2.0 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, 0.7 clearances, 1.7 shots, 1.0 key passes and 1.8 dribbles per 90 minutes in the Dutch top-flight and the UEFA Champions League. He has also distributed the ball relatively well as evident from his pass success rate of 81.2% in league football (stats via whoscored).

Manchester United to rival Barcelona in pursuit of Gravenberch who is seen in the photo
Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho (L) jumps for the ball with Ajax’s Dutch midfielder Ryan Gravenberch during the UEFA Champions League Group D first-leg football match between Ajax Amsterdam and Liverpool FC at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam on October 21, 2020. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

What Will The Amsterdam-Born Prospect Bring To The Theatre Of Dreams?

Gravenberch has got decent pace in his locker and is agile enough to make some driving runs with the ball from midfield. He has proven himself to be a capable defensive presence at the centre of the park due to his tenacity to win the ball back for his team.

The Dutch whizkid has also got the eye to play a decisive pass in the final third and is not afraid to have a shot from long range when given enough time and space in and around the opposition penalty area.

A midfielder of Gravenberch’s skillset and potential will undeniably be a shrewd coup for Man United in the long-run. He is currently good enough to fight for a regular starting place at Old Trafford. Still, he might find game time hard to come by as he will have to compete with the likes of Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Fred, Donny van de Beek and Nemanja Matic for a place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team.

At the moment, Gravenberch will be better off staying at Ajax as he will get more first-team opportunities under the watchful eyes of ten Hag. However, the Red Devils will do well to lure him away from Amsterdam if they can win the race for his services in the future.

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