Donny van de Beek will become Manchester United’s first signing of the transfer window when his move to Old Trafford goes through, with BBC Sport reporting a fee with Ajax has been agreed.

Van de Beek can play in differing midfield positions and will provide vital cover for United. He will start his fair share of games too.

Salzburg v Ajax - Club Friendly
(Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Extra competition for places is always welcome, although Van de Beek will find it tough to displace star man Bruno Fernandes.

On the other hand, Van de Beek is exactly what Fernandes needs.

Protecting Fernandes

Fernandes had an outstanding first few months at United after signing in a £67.7 million deal from Sporting back in January.

He scored 12 goals and provided eight assists in total, while going unbeaten in 14 Premier League games.

But it was concerning how reliant United were on Fernandes at times during the post-lockdown run.

Fernandes was asked to start 14 of 15 games in all competitions, with United lacking the depth to rotate him.

 

This showed up some of his July performances, with Fernandes looking tired at times and misplacing passes. He made up for it with moments of brilliance, but it was easy to tell he was running on empty at times.

Of course one of the effects of this is that Fernandes would be risking injury by not being at 100 per cent. United could certainly not afford that.

Van de Beek helps

Van de Beek gives United a valuable option to bring off the bench in place of Fernandes, or to start ahead of him and rest the Portuguese star.

When the previous fill-ins were Jesse Lingard or Andreas Pereira, it was judged too risky to take Fernandes off or drop him.

Van de Beek ensures there is no dip in quality, or a minimal one, if he steps in for Fernandes.

Manchester United Training Session
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Van de Beek gives Ole Gunnar Solskjaer flexibility in his team selection and squad management, and allows Fernandes to be the best possible version of himself.

That makes the reported £39.3 million being spent on Van de Beek very good value indeed.

Have something to tell us about this article?