After at least a month of inactivity and watching the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City strengthen their ranks, it appears that Manchester United have woken up and are slowly starting to make moves in the current summer transfer window.
The Red Devils were in hot pursuit of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund but a fee has not been agreed with the Germans.
However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has received a major boost after Netherlands international, Donny van de Beek decided to leave Ajax for Old Trafford. The young midfielder has reportedly turned down the overtures of the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona in doing so which clearly makes this a huge coup for the English giants, and a player that may entice punters to use Draftkings promotions.
The youngster arrives at Old Trafford with the reputation of being an all action midfielder and someone who scores goals and provides them in equally good measure. He was also a key figure for the Amsterdam club when Ajax reached the semifinal of the 2018/19 Champions League.
After being extensively scouted for the past 12 months, Solskjaer decided to make his move but one wonders if the youngster would be able to fit in alongside Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba?
A deep-lying playmaker?
Van de Beek is renowned for his attacking qualities and can be a really great player during offensive builders. However, that is not the only quality he has. The 23-year-old is a great at recovering possession in the final third which further outlines his eager to play higher up the pitch.
But with the likes of Fernandes and Pogba already at the club, the Norwegian tactician might seek to position Van de Beek in a deeper role.
In a 4-2-3-1 formation, you can expect the youngster to be paired up with Pogba at the base of the midfield. he would definitely be a great alternative to Nemanja Matic who is nearing the twilight years of his playing career.
But unlike the Serb, Van de Beek is not as defensive but that doesn’t mean he would be avoid doing the dirty work. Last season in the Eredivisie, the Dutchman averaged 2.2 tackles per 90 minutes which is very close to Matic’s tackling per 90 minutes average of 2.6.
Van de Beek has crafted a reputation of being a hard working player whose intelligent off the ball movement makes him easy to pick out. By being at the base of midfield, the Dutchman will have enough chances to move around and make himself available to be picked out.
His passing ability is something that will make him a great addition to the squad. Van de Beek has excellent vision and just like Fernandes, loves finding gaps in packed defenses. This will come in really handy when United play against teams that like to defend in blocks.
However, Van de Beek is also going to thrive if he is played in a midfield diamond which would result in one of the three forwards being sacrificed.
But that would ensure Matic stays on the pitch in a holding role, leaving Fernandes, Pogba and Van de Beek closer to Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. During his time at Ajax, Van de Beek has done well on the right side of a midfield and in the long run this will be the position he would be used in.
A lack of depth did hurt United last season and although they were able to finish strongly and qualify for the Champions League, over-reliance on the likes of Pogba and Fernandes would be risky. But with Van de Beek around, Solskjaer has a nice selection headache ahead of the new season.