We ‘signed’ Ryan Gravenberch for Man United and results improved under Erik ten Hag

Manchester United are being linked with Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch this summer, amid strong speculation around Erik ten Hag’s future.

the Manchester Evening News reported two weeks ago that Erik ten Hag was interviewed by United and now looks set to become the club’s second Dutch manager. United’s business with Ajax may not stop there this summer, with the Reds rumored to be interested in bringing Gravenberch to Old Trafford as well, with other stars such as Antony and Jurrien Timber also linked with the Reds.

A number of players are set to leave the club this summer upon the expiration of their contract, with reinforcements needed throughout the squad. the Manchester Evening News revealed that United are working on a deal for Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips, but with the lack of quality in that area, the Reds could make a move for Ajax’s 19-year-old talent valued at around £30million.

READ MORE: Manchester United might already have their first disagreement with Erik ten Hag

So, if Gravenberch was to make the move to United in the summer, what sort of impact could he have at Old Trafford? Could the Dutch midfielder help United win a trophy next season? We simulated the 2022/23 season with Gravenberch in United’s squad and this is what happened.

We ‘signed’ Ryan Gravenberch for Man United in the summer transfer windows

To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to arrange for Gravenberch to join United and Ten Hag to become United manager at the start of the 2022/23 season, using FM22 to run the simulation. This is what Gravenberch’s in-game profile looks like on FM22.

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Ryan Gravenberch’s in-game profile on Football Manager 2022.

At just 19-years-old, Gravenberch is already one of the most well-rounded talents in Europe with excellent attributes for a box-to-box midfielder. The Dutchman’s physical attributes make him well-suited to the Premier League at a young age, at 6ft 3in and great Balance (15), Agility (15), Jumping Reach (14), Stamina (14) and Strength (13).

Gravenberch runs with the ball often meaning he can push his team forward at the risk of losing possession in dangerous areas, but with amazing First Touch (15), Technique (15) and Teamwork (14) he can hold onto the ball and contribute in possession. So, how did Gravenberch perform for United in his debut season at Old Trafford?

Ryan Gravenberch's statistics for Manchester United in the 2022/23 season.
Ryan Gravenberch’s statistics for Manchester United in the 2022/23 season.

The 19-year-old scored six goals and registered three assists in 47 appearances in all competitions during his debut season at Old Trafford. With a pass completion rate of 89% and a tackle success rate of 83% in all competitions, Gravenberch showed his quality in attack and defense as he quickly settled into life as a key player for United.

Gravenberch had the second-most goals of any midfielder at the club, only behind Bruno Fernandes (14). The 19-year-old averaged a match rating of 7.09 in all competitions, ranking him as the eighth-best performer in the United squad under Ten Hag, which is impressive at just 19-years-old.

At the end of the 2022/23 season, Football Manager 2022 put together an overall best Manchester United XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics. This is what the United best XI looked like at the end of the 2022/23 season as predicted by Football Manager 2022.

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Manchester United's best XI in the 2022/23 season.
Manchester United’s best XI in the 2022/23 season.

Full United best XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Dalot, Maguire, Varane, Shaw; Gravenberch, McTominay; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Ronaldo.

Ten Hag played Gravenberch in a defensive midfield position for most of the season alongside Scott McTominay. Have Hag gave the Dutch midfielder license to roam forward and get involved in attacks.

So, how did United get on in the Premier League and cup competitions with Gravenberch in the squad? Let’s take a look.

Manchester United’s performance in all competitions

Manchester United finished second in the Premier League.
Manchester United finished second in the Premier League.

United finished second in the Premier League, qualifying for the Champions League, as the Reds pushed for the title until the final day before being pipped by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool for a single point. Ten Hag’s side finished above rivals Man City and Chelsea after recording the least amount of losses (5) out of any team in the Premier League.

Gravenberch’s performances helped balance United’s team and improved their results drastically, along with Ten Hag’s coaching and tactics. In comparison to the 2020/21 season, United finished in the same league position, but with a better goal difference of +8 and 13 more points.

Manchester United's performances in the cup competitions.
Manchester United’s performances in the cup competitions.

In the cup competitions, United lifted the Europa League for the first time since the 2016/17 season after beating Real Sociedad 2-0 thanks to goals from Gravenberch and January signing Gabriel Barbosa in the final. In the domestic cup competitions, United were dumped out of the FA Cup quarter-finals to Chelsea after exiting the Carabao Cup earlier than expected following a defeat on penalties against Brentford in the third round.

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Overall, this Football Manager simulation predicts that if United were to sign Gravenberch ahead of the 2022/23 season, the Dutchman could add goals and assists from midfield whilst helping to balance the squad by offering a link between defense and attack. The 19-year-old could show his ability to perform on the biggest stage at a young age, scoring in the Europa League final to help United lift their first trophy for six years and bridge the gap to the likes of Man City and Liverpool.

Would you like to see Ryan Gravenberch’sign for Manchester United? Let us know in the comments!

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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