Amidst indications that Donny van de Beek could leave Manchester United this summer in search of greener pastures, a case can be made for why the Netherlands international should be retained for at least one more season.
Van de Beek arrived at Old Trafford in September 2020 in a £35million deal from Ajax back when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was boss.
Since then, however, the midfielder has struggled to make any meaningful impact for the Red Devils. In 60 appearances for the Red Devils, Van de Beek has only managed two goals and as many assists.
In the season gone by, Van de Beek played only ten times across all competitions and failed to register any goal contribution.
Compare and contrast this with his 41 goals and 34 assists for Ajax in 175 games and it’s easy to classify the 26-year-old as an Old Trafford flop that the club must urgently get rid of to make space for a new recruit.
However, considering where the club are currently in Erik ten Hag’s rebuild phase and the uncertainty surrounding the summer budget, it may make it necessary for Van de Beek to stay on the club’s books for the coming campaign.
United’s injury struggles this season and the extent to which they have hampered the team are well-known.
Van de Beek himself has been out of action since January following a nasty injury sustained during United’s clash against Bournemouth in the league.
For the entire campaign Ten Hag has emphasized the need to have a big squad with sufficient quality to compete across multiple competitions.
With Scott McTominay and Fred facing uncertain futures at the Theatre of Dreams, getting rid of Van de Beek would leave Ten Hag and certainly the team extremely short in the middle of the park.
Fred and McTominay are strong candidates to be sold as Ten Hag looks for creative ways to bolster his summer transfer budget.
The United boss wants to sign Mason Mount, but even then, United would be a man short in midfield. In this respect, keeping Van De Beek could become vital.
On top of making up the numbers, Van de Beek is also Bruno Fernandes’ direct replacement.
The United captain enjoys a stellar personal injury and fitness record, but as last season has proved, he needs rest every now and then.
Van de Beek’s versatility in midfield also means he can be deployed as not only in the No 10 role but also as the 8.
United will not solve all their problems, nor will they plug all the holes this summer. It will be a gradual and slow process. As it stands, Van de Beek might well be Ten Hag’s versatile answer.
Van de Beek should also be accorded the chance to play a full season under Ten Hag – a manager who knows him best and where his strengths lie.
The former Ajax star was becoming a regular fixture in and around the team until his injury.
Supporters across the fanbase can agree that under previous managers, Van de Beek has not been given ample opportunities to show what he can do.
Van de Beek’s talents are undeniable. In a team where the technical levels are low, he’s one of the club’s most refined technicians on the ball.
He has his uses and with a decent run of games, he can maybe reach the levels he had set for himself back when he made the jump from Ajax to United.
In conclusion, United may be best served keeping Van de Beek. A player of such calibre and reputation deserves a genuine shot to succeed at United.
In a more functional and system-based team with a proper No 9, Van de Beek has the quality to explode and live up to his potential.