Van de Beek did not hit the ground running in his first season at Old Trafford and was given limited game time by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, leading to rumours that he is unhappy at the club.
And despite more credible reports that both player and manager have had clear-the-air talks and that the Dutchman’s future at Old Trafford is assured, the mischief makers will not desist from stirring up some controversy.
Which brings us to this morning’s headlines and to the big story that a loan deal is being lined up that will take Van de Beek to the Bernabeu for the 2021/22 season.
The source of the story would appear to be The Sun, an outlet from which we have learned to treat headlines with some degree of caution.
‘Real are also keen on taking Van de Beek, 24, to the Bernabeu on a year-long loan, with a commitment to buy 12 months down the line,’ reporter Phil Thomas claims.
‘And United believe that gives them a key bargaining tool in their pursuit of Varane.
‘So United are more likely to play ball over Van de Beek, if it gives them a little wriggle room in signing Varane, who is also on Paris Saint-Germain’s radar.’
Van de Beek famously came close to signing for los Blancos in the summer of 2019, but the deal fell through at the last minute. However, according to Thomas:
‘[Real] have stayed in touch with Van de Beek’s advisers after his move to Old Trafford turned into something of a nightmare.
‘They are willing to pay a £2m loan fee and pick up all his wages ahead of a permanent deal next summer, when they expect to be in a healthier financial position.
‘And Old Trafford top brass, keen to recoup much of their initial outlay, are prepared to bend a little if that means they get Varane, who has been with Real for ten years.’
The report is, of course, credible, but seems somewhat unlikely for a number of reasons. First, the Dutchman could not be expected to get any more game time at the Bernabeu than he has had at Old Trafford with the likes of Isco, Kroos, Modric, Valdverde and the returning Odegaard all vying for central midfield positions.
It seems unlikely that los Blancos would have faith that Van de Beek is going to be better than any of the above after a season of disappointment – and, especially, to agree to an obligation to buy – and the player himself surely cannot afford to gamble that he will spend another crucial year warming the bench.
Uncertainty around Pogba’s own future is another reason to doubt the story, as United are believed to be inclined to sell the Frenchman this summer if a contract extension cannot be agreed.
The Red Devils are highly unlikely to let both players go in one window.
A fifth cause to question the veracity of the report is that there has been no mention of it in the Spanish media. Whilst this doesn’t mean it’s untrue, it does leave it uncorroborated.
Of course, football transfers and loans can happen against the odds for a number of reasons but it would certainly represent a big surprise if this one really does come about.