Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov believes struggling midfielder Donny van de Beek is “running out of time to save his United career.”
Despite spending around £40m to land the former Ajax star, the 24-year-old is yet to have an impact under Reds’ boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Van de Beek’s latest chance to impress the Norwegian ended in familiar fashion, with the Dutchman being replaced at half-time having failed to impose himself against Young Boys.
In his latest Betfair column, Berbatov has expressed sympathy with Van de Beek, while using the Dutchman as an example of the pitfalls in making signings to appease fans.
“This has been the story of his time at the club.” Berbatov says, “If he plays, he’s brought off. If he comes on, he gets 10 minutes. He never gets the chance to settle and show what he can do.”
The midfield misfit’s struggles have led Berbatov to conclude that the signing was made to keep fans onside, and not for any obvious football reasons.
“It’s just not working out for Van de Beek. It’s a pity because United paid big money for him. But this is what happens when you spend money just to satisfy your fans.”
And although Berbatov would like to see the struggling star get another chance to prove his worth, he thinks that the club could soon lose patience.
“I still hope he gets a proper chance, but it is going to be very difficult for him and the club may decide to cut their losses, if they can.”
On the eve of the new season, there was much talk of the Netherlands’ ace knuckling down to fight for his place, which makes his continued struggles for playing time even more mystifying.
While the loss to Young Boys was frustrating, it was a difficult night for everyone involved and Van de Beek’s substitution seemed like a tactical switch under trying conditions. It would be dangerous to jump to any conclusions about individual prospects based on that game alone.
United fans will no doubt be hoping that the pre-season fighting talk comes to fruition and Van de Beek gets a chance to prove his worth.
The club will need reliable squad options to avoid burnout among the core group of often overused key men.