Ajax took the rest of Europe by storm last season. A young, dynamic and exciting squad that played beautiful football dominated domestically as well as stunned their Champions League opposition. It was no surprise that in the summer window, some top talent departed from Amsterdam. De Jong, Dolberg and De Ligt the most notable. However, unlike the 2016/17 Monaco side, the squad wasn’t ripped apart. Players like Neres, Ziyech and Donny van de Beek remained. But the latter could be on his way out in January.
The 22-year-old has been linked with a move to Manchester United, with ESPN claiming the midfielder is on a list of targets for the club this window. That list of targets never seems to end for the Red Devils and under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. We did a long piece on him HERE if you’re interested. But considering their current midfield crisis, it wouldn’t be a surprise if United get the deal done. Just to tackle the growing discontent in the fan base towards the hierarchy.
So why have other top European clubs, like Real Madrid, been linked to van de Beek? We’ll give you the rundown:
Donny van de Beek – Style of Play
The midfielder has now had 2 strong seasons for the Dutch side, with 2019/20 set to follow suit. 13 goals in all competitions in 2017/18 followed by 17 goals in 2018/19 and 8 so far this season. Not to mention, 20 assists across the last 3 Eredivisie seasons. Fair to say, he’s a huge goal threat from the centre of the pitch. It’s therefore no surprise he made the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or last year.
At 6ft tall, van de Beek has a physical presence that allows him to dominate the midfield. The video shows him using his physicality to hold off anyone closing him down, before using his intelligence to get past them. Averaging 1.8 tackles per game in 2019/20, he has balance to his game alongside the goals. In terms of a template, he looks like the perfect Paul Pogba box to box replacement. Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com.
Why I say that is because of how technically gifted he is. 0.9 dribbles per game does not tell the full story about the Netherlands international. As shown in the video, the speed of his footwork and ability to get past defenders in the tightest of spaces is ridiculous. A very silky player and a joy to watch on the ball. Despite what you’d expect with his frame.
Van de Beek’s distribution is also excellent. Averaging an impressive 1.9 key passes per game in the Dutch league, he reads the game well to spot difficult passes before executing them perfectly. Whether these passes are for quick transition from his own half or the final ball to put the attacker clean through on goal. The midfielder is a creative spark in the Ajax side, who can also deliver a great cross from out wide.
But the most impressive side to the 22 year old’s game is his finishing. 17 goals in all competitions last season highlight how clinical he is when given the chance. The goals he scores too, are against big teams and well taken. I’d go as far to say van de Beek has a striker’s instinct with how well he finishes in the box. First time, 2 touches, volleys, the video really demonstrates the technique he has. What a signing he would be for United. Though I’m not convinced they’ll bid for him, or van de Beek will want to join the chaos at Old Trafford.
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