Summer transfer window 2020 marked an excellent signing for Manchester United – for 39 million euros from Ajax, the Mancunians got one of the leaders of that brilliant team, Donnie van de Beck, for whom many of the top clubs of the continent claimed. The Red Devils fans were very happy with the deal, looking forward to how the Dutchman would be able to prove himself at Old Trafford.
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The age of the Manchester United rookie inspired even more optimism in the fans and specialists. At the time of moving to England, he was only 23 years old, and already had a considerable gaming experience behind him – more than a hundred matches in the Dutch Eredivisie, as well as more than a dozen matches in the main draw of the Champions League. Combined with Donnie’s versatility, the deal seemed incredibly successful for the Manchester-based club, but in reality things started to unfold in a different direction.
Van de Beck made his debut in the English Premier League. On September 19 last year, coming out on the 67th minute as a substitute in the home match against Crystal Palace instead of Paul Pogba, Donnie became the author of the only goal scored for his team, which otherwise looked extremely faded, if not toothless – 1: 3. But the Dutchman failed to build on the success, which convinced Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer of the correctness of the idea that the best place for van de Beck was the bench.
As a result, van de Beck played 19 matches in the 2020/21 Premier League, of which only 4 started in the starting lineup. Despite serious problems in midfield, where neither Paul Pogba, nor Fred, nor Scott McTominay were stable, not to mention the aging and losing grip Nemanja Matić, the Dutchman was still Solskjaer’s second, if not third, choice. Such an eternal spare and the main joker in cases when it smells fried. However, it was foolish to expect from van de Beck miracles, which he distinguished in “Ajax” – his own team, where Donnie was all clear, familiar and understandable even on an intuitive level.
In the summer of 2021, it would seem that Manchester United and Solskjaer have no choice but to let go of van de Beck. The Dutchman needed to get more playing time, and the “red devils” either help their investment stay promising by sending the player on loan, or try to return it, although in 12 months the potential value of Donnie fell by almost half.
But van de Beck still decided to stay at Old Trafford, and Solskjaer, in one of his comments, also promised to provide more practice to the Dutchman. As time has shown, the words of the Norwegian were hardly worth believing, because he himself had to fight for the right to stay in the club, and for this Ole Gunnar preferred to rely on proven personnel. At the time of Solskjaer’s dismissal, van de Beck had only 6 appearances in all tournaments for Manchester United.