Manchester United’s new signing Donny van de Beek may only be 23 years old, but the midfielder arrives at Old Trafford with a wealth of experience playing at the highest level.
Donny has already made 175 appearances for Ajax, is an established Dutch international and has demonstrated his class in the Champions League knockout stages.
But what exactly will van de Beek bring to the United midfield, and how does his playing style vary from the Reds’ current crop?
Well, we’ve poured over his stats from the Eredivisie 2019/20 campaign and compared them with United’s midfielders from the most recent Premier League season, to see what Donny will add to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side…
Watch van de Beek’s first interview as a Red!
Donny first announced himself as a top talent during Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018/19. During that campaign, our new signing tended to play in the no.10 role, with Frenkie de Jong operating in a deeper role.
However, de Jong’s departure to Barcelona last summer meant Donny often played in a slightly more withdrawn role in 2019/20, allowing Hakim Ziyech and David Neres more offensive freedom.
Not that van de Beek operated solely as box-to-box midfielder last term. When either of his aforementioned team-mates where missing from the XI, Donny tended to slot into a role just off the striker. In fact, the Netherlands international started 19 games in an attacking midfield position last season, and 18 in the centre of the park.
Putting the ball in the back of the net is the most important – and difficult – part of the game, so finding a player adept at doing just that is a rare commodity. Thankfully, the Reds’ new recruit knows exactly where the goal is.
The 23-year-old netted 41 times in 175 appearances for Ajax and registered eight in 23 league matches in 2019/20 – that’s a a goal-per-game ratio of 0.38.
Impressively, only Bruno Fernandes can better that from United’s current midfielders, with the Portuguese international scoring eight goals in 14 Premier League matches, at a goal-per-game ratio of 0.61. Scott McTominay boasts the next best tally, with 0.2 in 2019/20.
Donny also hit the target with 36.4 per cent of his shots in the Eredivisie last term, while his average of 0.75 shots per game would rank him third among United’s midfielders, behind Bruno and Andreas Pereira.
Those numbers really do bode well for the Reds, and it appears we’ve added a midfielder with the confidence and capability of adding goals from deeper areas of the pitch. Continue reading