In their first full season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United manage to to finish fourth in the Premier League and advance to the semifinals of the Europa league and and the FA cup.
While Ole’s team has been quite impressive since play resumed after the lockdown, there is no doubt the Red Devils need additional quality in their midfield to push for greater honours.
Donny van de Beek has been closely linked as the solution to Manchester United’s apparent lack of depth in midfield.
Sources claim that Ajax have accepted a bid of £40 million from Man United, and the signing of the Dutch midfielder is imminent.
Twitter user @utdarena took a very long and detailed look in a post/thread, analysing the playing style, strengths and weaknesses of Van de Beek.
Van de Beek has been deployed in a variety of roles at his current club Ajax, playing as a false-9, out wide and as a central attacking midfielder in his tenure at the club.
The primary traits of his game include finding and creating space in the opposition half, along with an attack minded approach to the game, he often starts attacks from the right wing, something Man U have been struggling with in the previous season.
The main strengths of Van de Beek’s game include drawing defenders to him to create space for other attackers, much like Thomas Muller at Bayern.
In addition, his off the ball defensive work is something that will be of great importance to the side.
Although he isn’t the most prolific goalscoring midfielder, stats dictate that the Dutchman can and does take his chances well.
Along with the defensive work, one of the other most important aspects that he could bring to the team would have to be his ability to retain possession and complete his passes.
While going forward, he likes to cross from the edge of the penalty box and lob in balls that dip into the 6-yard-box much like Kevin de Bruyne at Man City.
Van de Beek doesn’t create chances as often as his former teammate Ziyech, or Bruno Fernandes does, but his creative play carries quality over quantity.
He also tends to be outmuscled in physical duels or take ons with defenders.
The player tends to receive the ball a lot in the opposition box but does not attempt a lot of line breaking passes, which is something the other playmakers in the team have to compensate for.
How he fits in
Although Van de Beek is traditionally a roaming no. 10, he is one of the most versatile young midfielders in Europe and can be deployed in a variety of positions by Ole.
He can play in the no. 6 role, but is not a traditional defensive midfielder and should not be considered one in either case. His strengths demand freedom in his game, and that is something that the manager will have to address while picking a line up with him in it.