Manchester United have this evening completed the signing of Donny van de Beek in a £35 million deal from Ajax.
The highly-rated midfielder played a key role in the Dutch giants’ surprise semi-final run in the 2018-19 Champions League, which included scoring an important goal in the victory at Juventus.
This deal appears to be a massive coup for the Red Devils, who have tied the Dutch international down to a five-year deal at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer employs a 4-3-3 system most of the time, which makes it particularly interesting to see where van de Beek will fit into the team. He’s not a holding midfielder and Bruno Fernandes is arguably the first name on the team sheet.
Does this mean Paul Pogba is set to depart Manchester United this summer? It will most likely be to help the Norwegian manager rotate this side.
it was noticeable after the restart that Solskjaer lacked confidence in many of the squad players as there was very little rotation, particularly as they were playing two games a week as a result of their run to the FA Cup semi-finals.
Pogba’s below par and inconsistent performances at Manchester United have left his future in doubt over the past year or two. However, it remains to be seen whether the club will attempt to sell him this summer and whether a club will even come in for him given the current climate.
Therefore, Donny van de Beek’s first season at Old Trafford may simply be a rotation role with Fernandes and Pogba to keep all three fresh, whilst rarely being on the pitch together at the same time.
So here’s how I see United’s strongest current lineup:
Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson/David de Gea
Dean Henderson looked good in his debut Premier League season with Sheffield United, but if given the number one role at the record champions of England, will he be able to maintain his form and consistency? I’d certainly expect him to be given his opportunity this season.
Defence: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof/Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams
United could certainly do with an upgrade at centre-back and one with a bit of pace about him. Currently Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof is the regular starting duo, though largely because Eric Bailly is always on the injury table. There’s no competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back, whilst Brandon Williams will be looking to make the left-back role his own over Luke Shaw over the next year or two.
Midfield: Nemanja Matic/Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek/Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes
Nemanja Matic found his form of old following the restart in making the defensive midfield position his again. He faces competition from Scott McTominay as I don’t think Fred is disciplined enough to play this role in the big matches. Donny van de Beek can be the central midfielder alongside the Serbian if he can bring his form over from the Dutch Eredivisie, but he’s competing with Paul Pogba. Bruno Fernandes has made the number 10 role his own in 2020.
Attack: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford
It will be interesting to see if the coming days or month whether Jadon Sancho is added to the lineup, but currently Mason Greenwood is the best option out on the right even if he’s still developing. Anthony Martial is the number one striker at the club, pushing Marcus Rashford out on the left wing.
Here’s Manchester United’s strongest XI on paper: