Manchester United’s signing of Donny van de Beek has been, bizarrely, branded a “panic buy” by Paul Merson.
The 23-year-old, who is on international duty with Holland, moves to Old Trafford for a fee thought to be in the region of €39m, plus another €5m in add-ons.
Van de Beek skipped Holland training on Monday to undergo his United medical in the Netherlands and he has penned a deal until 2025.
The central midfielder will travel to the UK after his country’s Nations League game against Italy on Monday.
There remains some question marks over the role Van de Beek will play in the United side. Some believe he will line up in a midfield three alongside Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes. Others, namely Mark Bosnich, believes Pogba could lose his place in the side.
Either way, the transfer has been branded a “panic buy” by Merson, who says he can’t understand what United see in the player.
“Donny van de Beek looks like a panic buy at Manchester United,” he told the Daily Star.
“I don’t get it. They just spent £40m on a position where they are already strong. And how does he play with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes? You have to have someone who can play the holding role.”
“That signing looked to me like: ‘Oh we haven’t bought anyone yet, let’s go and buy someone, who can we get?’ When you look at their midfield, Fred was improving, and they’ve got Scott McTominay. Now they won’t get a game.
“And they just gave Nemanja Matic a new contract. Would they have done that if they knew they were getting Van de Beek? It makes no sense to me. Who is making these decisions?
“It’s like them going for Jadon Sancho. If they sign Sancho, Greenwood doesn’t play. For me they need another centre back.”
Three reasons why Solskjaer prefers Upamecano over Koulibaly
United, meanwhile, are reportedly set to push forward with plans to sign Dayot Upamecano before the window shuts.
The 21-year-old proved himself one of Europe’s outstanding defenders this season. He was a key man as Julian Nagelsmann’s side reached the Champions League semi-finals.
United’s chances of landing him appeared to be over last month when he signed a new deal with the Bundesliga side. That tied him to the club until 2023. More significantly, it upped his exit clause to €60m.
However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains convinced Upamecano should be a transfer focus for United.
Now a report has listed three reasons why Upamecano is seen as a more urgent transfer priority to United than Kalidou Koulibaly.