It seems only a matter of time before Donny van de Beek leaves Manchester United on loan for a much needed chance to rejuvenate a stagnant career.
The Dutchman arrived at United as an opportunistic signing, not their top target two summers ago, but certainly not a clearance aisle capture either.
However, despite devoted backing from United supporters, Van de Beek has gradually transformed from one of the hottest talents in European football to an internet meme, further evidence that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
For supporters, the main frustration has been that Van de Beek still represents somewhat of an untried solution. He hasn’t started a meaningful Premier League match in over a year, has never had a continuous run in the starting line up and, ultimately, doesn’t appear to have the same trust shown in him as other underperforming players have had.
The 24-year-old can’t be entirely blameless, however. Despite some impressive cameo appearances, he has largely underperformed when on the pitch, and it is concerning that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick have not been convinced by his suitability to start matches.
A loan exit before the deadline day seems the best solution for all parties, particularly because of the two sides who are closest to a deal.
MEN Sport reported over the weekend Palace, another Premier League club, believed to be Everton, and an unknown overseas club are understood to have all provisionally agreed on the terms of a loan and it is now at the player’s discretion which club he chooses to join .
From United’s point of view they are insisting any club that recruits Van de Beek would cover his weekly wage of £120,000 in full and could pay a loan fee.
The former Ajax man was also offered to Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund earlier this month, but it is the prospect of a move to Everton and Palace which are the most fascinating.
Not only are they two reputable top-flight teams, but they both coincidentally happen to be managed by two of the Premier League’s greatest ever central midfielders.
Frank Lampard is poised to takeover at Everton a year after he was sacked by Chelsea, while Patrick Vieira is the man in charge at Selhurst Park.
Rival fans might mock Lampard for his unconvincing credentials as a top-flight manager, but he, like Vieira, does not need to show any further evidence of his ability to perform in the middle of the park.
A move to Merseyside probably makes the most sense in that Van de Beek won’t need to relocate, but even if he moves to South London instead, he will have the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest modern midfielders.
Having failed to convince under both Solskjaer and Rangnick, the £35million man will have no place to hide if he fails to impress playing at a lower level in the Premier League, but it’s a challenge he should relish, and an opportunity to prove his doubters wrong.
By leaving on loan, he will not only get the chance to play regularly and form a key part of a side, but he’ll also get to learn from one of the greatest players in his position on a daily basis.
If Lampard or Vieira can’t get a tune out of him, however, then there really is a problem.