The Dutchman has only been at Old Trafford for one season, having made a £35 move from Ajax last summer. Despite arriving with a glowing reputation, van de Beek failed to convince in his first term, making 36 appearances, with most of those coming from the bench.
He struggled to dislodge the effervescent Bruno Fernandes from the number 10 spot, contributing just two goal involvements – one goal and one assist – over a meagre 511 minutes of Premier League action.
The quality of his performances proved to be something of a head-scratcher for United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who looked to change van de Beek’s fortunes by experimenting with his role in the side.
However, the nominally attacking midfielder looked equally bereft of both form and confidence when deployed in a deeper midfield berth and ended the season looking like United’s odd-man-out.
Van de Beek would no doubt have been looking forward to putting his club troubles firmly behind him while on duty with the Orange at Euro 2020 but his fortunes have continued to plummet, with an injury ruling him out of the tournament.
With Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta looking to revitalise his own team’s flagging fortunes, it’s been revealed that conversations about Van de Beek’s immediate future have taken place between the two Premier League clubs. Arteta is looking to overhaul his current midfield and has asked to be kept abreast of any developments.
It seems feasible that uncertainty surrounding the Gunners’ on-loan Martin Odegaard could be a factor here, with Van de Beek a possible alternative should a deal with the Norwegian’s parent-club, Real Madrid, fail to materialise.
Solskjaer won’t be alone in feeling befuddled by the well-documented travails of his Dutch enigma. The more time passes, the less sense Van de Beek’s signing seems to make to anyone connected to the club.
At the time he seemed like an appeasement to soften the blow of the failed Jadon Sancho chase and the lack of a coherent plan to integrate him in the side has done little to suggest otherwise.
United’s pressing need to recruit a recognised defensive-midfielder could make a rapid departure the best possible solution for all parties.
As reported here on The Peoples Person, United’s chances of bolstering that long-neglected position could hinge on van de Beek being sold.
It seems oddly fitting that his most telling contribution to the club’s future success could be to act as a makeweight for the type of player Solskjaer genuinely does need.