Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Costly Man Utd flop namechecked by former club’s manager as shock January transfer chance arises

Man Utd struggler Donny van de Beek could be in line for a return to former club Ajax

Man Utd struggler Donny van de Beek could be in line for a return to Ajax

Manchester United may finally get the chance to offload unwanted midfielder Donny van de Beek after the struggling manager of his former club suggested his side were missing the talents of their former star.

Van de Beek moved to Old Trafford in summer 2020 for an initial fee of £35m, with a further £5m in add-ons. However, the money Manchester United paid to Ajax has proved nothing short of a disaster with the Red Devils seeing little return from a player who then-boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed as a would-be successor to Paul Pogba in their midfield.

Indeed, Van de Beek has rarely shown the abilities at Old Trafford that persuaded United to spend such a hefty fee on him from Ajax, with the 26-year-old star limited to just 62 appearances in his first three seasons at the club. Typifying his struggles, he’s only managed two goals and one assist throughout his time in the side.

Furthermore, with only six starts to his name in the Premier League throughout that time, it is clear Van de Been has proved a huge disappointment during his time at Old Trafford.

To that end, Erik ten Hag made clear that Van de Beek was available for transfer during the summer window. And despite interest from the likes of Real Sociedad, as well as Turkish sides Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, a move away from Old Trafford did not materialise.

However, all hope is not lost for Van de Beek with United lowering their valuation of the player to just £12m – presenting the possibility of the player securing a much-needed move in the January window.

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Ajax hint at possible Van de Beek swoop on Man Utd

But having already been linked with a move to either Saudi Arabia or Inter Milan, Van de Beek could find himself returning to a former club instead.

That’s after the manager of Ajax, who this season are struggling badly in the Eredivisie, namechecked the player as one of their former stars whom the club were missing.

Ajax are currently sat in a lowly 16th and in the bottom three after collecting just one win from their six matches so far.

And discussing their struggles, under-fire coach Maurice Steijn has named Van de Beek as one player who could help his side out of their hole.

“I look at the teenagers who can offer more than the players on the bench,” he said. “Some senior players are not yet able to bring it in training and during substitute appearances.

“I haven’t written them off. But I make different choices based on what I see in training and what I think the team needs. Of course, this team would benefit incredibly from experienced players, such as Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek. Daley Blind and Dusan Tadic also excelled. We don’t have those guys, and that is a disadvantage for the team.”

Whether Ajax make their move remains to be seen, but the struggling Dutch giants will at least be enthused by Ten Hag’s willingness to part with the star on the cheap. At the very least, it’s expected Ajax could ask about signing Van de Beek on loan; a move United would not be wholly unopposed to if the deal were to contain an obligation to buy at the season’s end.

Star has no way back at Man Utd

Despite making their bench in the win over Brentford on Saturday and also featuring for two minutes at the end of their loss to Crystal Palace the previous weekend, it is clear Van de Beek does not have a future at Old Trafford.

Discussing how far Van de Beek had slipped down the pecking order, journalist Ben Jacobs, in an interview with Givemesport, revealed how determined United were to get the player off their books.

“I think it’s clear that Donny van de Beek is not part of Erik ten Hag’s plans, but time is running out in various windows, so Manchester United are scrambling to try and find a late solution,” he said, just prior to the Turkish transfer window closing last month.

“The club’s preference would be to offload van de Beek, but it hasn’t been routine. The main interest has come from Turkey and there have been some enquiries from Saudi Arabia, but it’s a race against the clock.”

For that reason, Van de Beek needs to exit the club as quickly as possible – and a return to the club where he made his name in Ajax may not be the worst idea of all.

It was at the Dutch giants that the midfielder showcased his talents to the watching world, where he scored an impressive 41 goals in 175 first-team games and helping Ten Hag’s side reach the Champions League semi-finals in 2019, where they lost to Tottenham in dramatic circumstances.

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