Donny van de Beek’s career has probably not gone the way he hoped since his £35m move from Manchester United in 2020. Shunned by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and finishing most games as an unused substitute, his frustration at the bench was visible to all.
And it hasn’t gotten any better under Ralf Rangnick, as the German manager has underutilized the Dutch player during his interim spell at United, and fans don’t know why.
A simple explanation is that he is the rotation option for Bruno Fernandes, who is consistently United’s best and most influential player. So unless United undergo a significant tactical change, they are unlikely to find a way onto the pitch.
But United did when Rangnick first joined, and the German manager’s 4-2-2-2 would have ideally suited Van de Beek’s skill set, but again no starters materialized.
Reports then began to circulate about the Dutchman’s suitability for the Premier League, offering a lack of physicality and quickness on the ball as reasons for him not playing more.
This doesn’t seem right, given that a number of Premier League players lack physicality and quickness on the ball. Still, if United honestly believe this, then reports from Fabrizio Romano that Crystal Palace are interested in a six-month loan will be music to their ears.
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The Italian journalist also reports that Valencia is interested. Still, suppose there is the option of loaning Van de Beek to a Premier League team that plays a good brand of attacking football that is not United’s direct rival. In that case, the club should take the opportunity to give the attacking midfielder time out from the club.
Patrick Vieira has instilled an excellent attacking work ethic in his Palace team and a decent standard of pressing, which benefits Van de Beek’s game. There’s also the issue that any playing time will be better than what Van de Beek has now.
Romano has also stated in his exclusive that United are reluctant to add a purchase option to any deal, showing that they still see Van de Beek in their long-term plans.
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Erik ten Hag is a potential target for the permanent manager job, and he brought Van de Beek into the first team at Ajax. The player was nominated for the Ballon d’Or as part of his team. He also described United’s past misuse of the player as a “mortal sin” in an interview with de Volkskrant.
In general, United have a great player there; they are not using it correctly. If they don’t take steps to restart his career, they could end up losing him or worse, derailing what was once a promising talent again due to poor development.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.