The new campaign may still be in its early stages, but it already looks set to be another frustrating season for Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek, who is seemingly resigned to life on the substitutes’ bench.
Having been on the fringes last season following his £40m move from Ajax last summer, the Dutchman might have hoped his patience would have paid off with increased involvement this term, yet it’s been a familiar story with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continually overlooking the 24-year-old.
That was no more evident than in last month’s win over Villarreal, with Van de Beek seen visibly frustrated and consoled by teammates after remaining an unused substitute as United chased a winner.
With only five minutes of Premier Leagueaction to his name and just two starts in the Carabao Cup and Champions League – both of which ended in defeat – it would appear that his future lies away from Old Trafford.
So for those of you who like to follow the latest results on livescore, here’s a look at the bookies’ favourites to sign Donny van de Beek.
Tottenham Hotspur- 16/1
Tottenham are rumoured to be one of the clubs keeping an eye on developments at Old Trafford, with the north London side reportedly long-term admirers of the Dutchman, who scored against Spurs in their Champions League semi-final meeting back in 2019.
With uncertainty over the future of Tanguy Ndombele – who has now struggled to convince three managers – there could well be a need for a new midfield addition, particularly if the Frenchman is moved on.
Nuno Espirito Santo has favoured Pierre-Emile Hojberg and Oliver Skipp as his central midfield partnership thus far, with the likes of Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso often deployed ahead of those two in a creative berth.
Van de Beek is capable of playing both as an attacking midfielder but also in a number eight role, with his signing likely to offer both quality and versatility to the former Wolverhampton Wanderers boss.
There is also speculation that Harry Winks is seeking an escape route out of Spurs, a situation which would even further increase the need for a new addition. Whether United would be willing to offload their man to a top-flight ‘rival’, however, remains to be seen.
Ajax – 16/1
Could a return to Amsterdam be on the cards for the Dutch international?
The midfielder rose through the ranks of the famed Ajax academy, before going on to make his debut for the club in 2015 and eventually becoming a regular fixture in the starting XI.
After a real breakthrough campaign in 2017/18 – in which he notably scored a hat-trick in an 8-0 thrashing of NAC Breda – Van de Beek would really put himself on the map the following year, playing a pivotal role in the club’s surge to the last four of the Champions League.
Deployed as an attacking midfielder – in a side that featured the likes of Frenkie De Jong and Matthijs De Ligt – the academy product was integral to that surprise European run, notably scoring against both Juventus and Spurs in the knockout stages – albeit with Erik ten Hag’s side suffering a last-gasp defeat to the north London club to squander the chance to reach the showpiece.
Van de Beek scored 17 goals in all competitions that season before adding ten more the following campaign, with that impressive goalscoring form alerting the attention of Real Madrid and Manchester United.
A return to his former home would make sense on a personal note, although the club are already well-stocked with midfield talent, with the likes of Ryan Gravenberch having emerged since Van de Beek’s exit.
Inter Milan – 8/1
A switch to Italy has also been mooted in recent weeks, with Serie A champions Inter Milan reportedly interested in adding the midfielder to their ranks.
Simone Inzaghi’s side do currently have a plethora of midfield options, namely Euro 2020 star Nicolo Barella, although Marcelo Brozovic is out of contract at the end of the season and the club are also likely to be without Christian Eriksen for an extended period following his horrific cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark in the summer.
The only major obstacle standing in the way of a potential deal to take Van de Beek to the San Siro is Inter’s financial situation, with their economic woes playing a part in the departure of title-winning coach Antonio Conte, as well as the sales of Achraf Hakimi and Romelu Lukaku.
Inter are likely to favour a loan deal, although it is unclear whether the Red Devils would be interested in a temporary departure as the club look to recoup as much of their £40m transfer fee as possible.
Everton – 8/1
One club who have already publicly expressed their interest in the midfielder is Everton, with director of football Marcel Brands revealing that the club had attempted to bring Van de Beek to the club during the summer transfer window.
Brands claimed that the Toffees had enquired about the possibility of taking the player on loan, but saw their late-window offer rejected as United opted to retain the services of the out-of-favour midfielder.
Rafa Benitez’s side have started the season strongly, notably picking up a point against United prior to the international break, although the Spaniard’s squad does appear in need of bolstering, with injuries causing havoc for his predecessor Carlo Ancelotti last season.
The former Liverpool boss already has an excellent midfield pairing in Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan – with Tom Davies and Andre Gomes also at the club – although Van de Beek is likely to have a better chance of regular game time on Merseyside given the competition in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.
Newcastle United – 7/1
It is unsurprising to see Newcastle United on this list, with the Magpies set to be linked with anyone and everyone for the foreseeable future, following their recent takeover by an uber-rich Saudi-led consortium.
The new owners – fronted by Amanda Staveley and backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) – have already stated their intention to get the club challenging again, with freshening up the playing squad a key part in steering them towards the top half of the table.
While the takeover was only announced late last week, talk has already begun ahead of a potential spending spree in January, with Van de Beek rumoured to be one of the many faces that could arrive at St James’ Park in the near future.
Steve Bruce’s tenure appears ever closer towards an end and any incomings will rest on who takes the reins, making it almost impossible to predict just who will be signed in the coming months.
That being said, there will be no shortage of players keen to be part of an ambitious project to turn Newcastle into the next Premier League superpower, with the chance of a fresh start at the beginning of an exciting era for the club potentially appealing to Van de Beek.
Juventus – 5/1
The bookies’ favourites to sign the Dutchman are Juventus, with the Turin-based club the latest big name to be linked with the player.
Recent reports have suggested that returning boss Max Allegri is keen to bolster his squad following a difficult start to the new campaign, with the Italian giants struggling in the absence of former talisman Cristiano Ronaldo – who currently plies his trade alongside Van de Beek at Old Trafford.
The club brought in Manuel Locatelli over the summer – following his role in Italy’s European Championship-winning squad – yet the squad is seemingly in need of further midfield reinforcement, particularly with former Arsenal man Aaron Ramsey likely to leave in January.
The Welshman has been linked with a return to the Premier League – with a move to Newcastle speculated – and his departure could open the door for a new midfield addition, as the club attempt to regain their Serie A crown.
Even though he has struggled for minutes in Manchester – starting just four league games since his arrival – there’s no denying that he is a quality player, with all parties perhaps better served in letting him move on.