Zinedine Zidane had a wish list for the summer. The Real Madrid manager wanted a left back, a centre back a wide forward and a central striker. And a central midfielder. The Frenchman got everything he wanted with the exception of the latter. No new central midfielder arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu last summer.
Of course, much was made of Los Blancos’ pursuit of Paul Pogba. Zidane spoke publicly about the World Cup winner in the belief that a deal would ultimately be struck with Manchester United. Pogba, however, stayed at Old Trafford and Real Madrid were left without the midfielder they wanted.
Their desperate need was eased by the emergence of Fede Valverde with the Uruguayan becoming one of the first names on Zidane’s team sheet this season. Los Blancos are still in need of a central midfielder, though, especially with Luka Modric out of contract at the end of the season.
Donny van de Beek is widely believed to be on the radar of the Santiago Bernabeu club. Real Madrid reportedly made a late offer for the Dutchman towards the end of the summer window, but couldn’t fund a move. Their interest is thought to be long-standing, though, and so it’s entirely possible that van de Beek could still end up in the Spanish capital.
The 22-year-old will be in Madrid this week with Ajax set to take on Getafe in the last 32 of the Europa League. While Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt got big moves last summer, joining Barcelona and Juventus respectively, van de Beek stayed for another season and is one of the Amsterdam club’s leaders.
He has been in good form of late even considering Ajax’s early exit from the Champions League. Erik ten Haag’s side will surely be one of the frontrunners to go all the way in the Europa League and van de Beek can underline his importance to his team with a strong display against Getafe on Thursday.
Recent reports put Ajax’s asking price for their prize asset at €55 million. In the current inflated market, that represents good value. Pogba, on the other hand, will cost at least double that if he is to be prised from Manchester United. At 22 the signing of van de Beek would also represent an investment in the future with the Dutchman also capable of filling a gap in the present.
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