Donny van de Beek was the odd man out among Ajax’s three major Dutch stars in the summer 2019 transfer window. As Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong got their big moves to Juventus and Barcelona, Van de Beek, the oldest of the trio, was forced to wait for another year.
Despite there being claims of interest from multiple clubs, there didn’t seem much competition for Manchester United to beat when they secured the midfielder last summer.
Just like his compatriots, and to a greater degree, Van de Beek has struggled to fully impose himself in the first season after his Ajax exit. He has 311 minutes of Premier League football so far, part of a total of 1117 minutes he’s played for Manchester United since his arrival.
The 23-year-old hasn’t been able to prove he needs to be starting every game, and there’s even been talk of a quick exit from Old Trafford. International duty has seen the same theme continue, with him being a bit-part player in the most recent international breaks.
This month he didn’t get off the bench as the Netherlands lost 4-2 to Turkey, and was given just 11 minutes in a 2-0 victory against Latvia.
Bryan Roy, who also came through the system at Ajax and has worked for the club as a youth coach, has been speaking to Tutto Juve, and was asked about his compatriot, and whether he expected the struggles: “It was predictable, Manchester United is full of great players in his role. Either he plays, or Pogba plays, in fact Solskjaer thinks so too. Let’s not talk about disappointment or failure, there can be a year of apprenticeship for a young man like Donny.”
Asked about a potential Van de Beek move to Juventus, Roy said: “Of course, I would see him well at Juve. He can play in any major European club, but he’ll just have to have a little patience. The right time will come.”
Manchester United and Donny van de Beek will hope the Dutchman can follow his former Ajax teammates by having a better second season than his first one.