Former Manchester United midfielder Arnold Muhren believes Donny van de Beek needs to leave Old Trafford as soon as possible – and even more so in light of claims they are trying to add another midfielder to their ranks.
Van de Beek quit Ajax to move to Old Trafford on a five-year contract in September for an initial fee of £35million. United also agreed to pay an extra £5m in add-ons to secure the Dutch star’s signature ahead of Premier League rivals Tottenham.
However, the 24-year-old has struggled to make an impact for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, starting just two league games all season.
The midfielder has been largely used as a substitute and notched one goal and an assist in 35 appearances. Truth be told, he’s looked like something of a spare part at Old Trafford.
He will also have to make do with a place on the bench in Wednesday’s Europa League final. And his place in the Holland squad for Euro 2020 looks in serious doubt. He was named in Frank de Boer’s provisional 33-man squad – but could be cut when he reduces it to 26.
Muhren was the first Dutchman to play for United when he signed in 1982. However, he reckons his compatriot needs to leave as quickly as possible so as not to jeopardise his career any further.
“Bruno Fernandes plays in the position where Van de Beek comes into his own. And in my view he one of the most important players of Manchester United. And then they also have McTominay, Fred, Pogba, Mata and Matic for the midfield.
“They say ‘he needs to get used to it’. But nobody has to get used to that. The problem is that he doesn’t have enough to play. At his age it is important to keep clocking minutes.
“For Oranje [national team], it also becomes a problem. If the national team coach now has to choose between Klaassen and Van de Beek, the choice might fall to the former.”
Muhren also believes United’s midfield is about to get more crowded, with one or two likely to sign.
“Van de Beek must hope for an injury or a departure of midfielders at United to get a chance. But in that case one or two will be added.”
Jack Grealish is among those being linked again and Muhren insists an exit would be better for Van de Beek.
“I have seen that they are also linked to Jack Grealish. If his perspective does not improve this summer, a departure might be the best solution for Van de Beek.”
Similarities for Van de Beek and Klaasen
Former United scout Ed van Stijn, meanwhile, believes Van de Beek’s lack of minutes is due to the change in play from what he’s used to at Ajax.
He also draws comparisons between Van de Beek’s situation and that of Davy Klaasen, who also struggled in the Premier League with Everton.
“I see clear similarities between the problems that Van de Beek has and that Davy Klaassen had when he went to Everton,” Van Stijn explained.
“These are guys have spent their entire football life at Ajax. They were able to play from their strength in that specific way of playing. When they come into a completely different environment, they are thrown far back. Suddenly they have to do things they have not learned.”