Manchester United are claimed by The Times to be weighing up a move for Ajax dynamo Donny van de Beek, with the club valuing him at £36 million.
Van de Beek could become a key player for United, even though there is a legitimate debate over whether he would get into the first XI. That misses the point.
This season Jesse Lingard has played in 34 games for United. Andreas Pereira has also featured in 34 matches.
Van de Beek is younger than both players, and most would agree that he is a better player.
He is a more dangerous player offensively, as his goal record of 40 over the last three seasons shows. This is a trait United need, with neither Lingard or Pereira offering much threat when they have played.
Improving the squad
Van de Beek would provide the cover United need for Bruno Fernandes, and give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer better options to rotate the team.
He can also play a deeper central midfield role, which would have been useful in United’s mid-season injury crisis.
We saw Pereira play as a central midfielder on occasion in October and November, and it didn’t work.
Both Pereira and Lingard are fighting for their futures at the moment.
Since Bruno Fernandes’ arrival at the end of January, both Lingard and Pereira faced a battle just to make United’s matchday squad.
For the win over City at Old Trafford in early March, neither player made the 18.
While an upwards limit of 20 will help both players in the short-term, if United sign Van de Beek, the writing will be on the wall.
The Netherlands international can do everything Lingard and Pereira can do, and far more, plus he will arrive with fresh energy and ideas.
Considering the game time both players have had over the course of this season, there will be plenty of minutes for Van de Beek to go around, if United get the deal done.
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