Man Utd legend Ferdinand: ‘Why Sign Van de Beek?

Paul Macdonald
Man Utd legend Ferdinand: ‘Why Sign Van de Beek?

Donny van de Beek’s transfer to Manchester United from Ajax has been questioned by Rio Ferdinand, who wonders why the Dutchman has hardly played.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has enjoyed an impressive season at Old Trafford. United sit second in the Premier League and remain in the race to win the Europa League.

Van De Beek has struggled to impose himself against competition in midfield, which includes Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes.

He has made just two Premier League starts this season despite making a £40million move last summer, with United taking him from under the noses of Real Madrid.

Ferdinand, who played for United between 2002 and 2014, wonders about the thinking behind bringing in Van de Beek and says he feels sorry for the 23-year-old, who played a key role in Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.

“I don’t think he’s been helped in terms of team selection and opportunities so I don’t think it’s fair to say he’s underperforming because he’s not been put in a position to perform yet on a consistent basis,” Ferdinand said on his YouTube channel.

“I really do feel for him but it would be interesting to hear what he was sold and told on the way in because the lack of opportunities, I don’t think he’d have come here if he’d known that.

“I watched him a hell of a lot in the Champions League in the year they had a good run to the semi-finals, Ajax.”

“He would add value to this team”

Ferdinand says Van De Beek’s versatility can be important to United because he has shown he can do a number of different jobs for the team.

“He was so impressive in the way he arrived in the box, the way he could play deeper as well and keep the ball, keep the game ticking. 

“I think he would add value to this team, definitely. He’s someone who would create goals, he played a part in the goal (versus Leicester). When he gets in the box, he knows how to put the ball in the back of the net. 

“But to get in the box he’s got to play in the position where Bruno Fernandes is playing and he’s not going to do that. Can he do it from No.8 position or No.6 when he’s holding? I think he can. He’s intelligent enough. 

“Ajax players are brought up to be intelligent footballers, they are able to play multiple positions, he can do that. It’s just obviously United want a stiffer central midfield area behind Bruno. 

“I get that, given that’s got to be protecting the centre-backs and that’s not going to be one of Van de Beek’s strengths. But then it begs the question: why buy him then?”

Van de Beek has been linked with a departure from Old Trafford at the end of the season.