Manchester United’s need for a new midfielder has received a lot of attention this summer, and it might be another costly transfer window.
It’s evident that United need to make changes in the middle of the park, and it’s looking increasingly probable that they’ll be obliged to do so given the possibility that Paul Pogba may leave Old Trafford for the second time.
However, United require new blood further back in the number six position, and there has been no shortage of names touted, the most prominent of which is West Ham’s Declan Rice.
The England international has developed into one of the Premier League’s biggest stars in the last 18 months, exhibiting all of the qualities United badly need in their midfield, so it’s no wonder that he’s a transfer priority for the Red Devils.
But he’ll come at a cost, and it’ll be a steep one. Last summer, David Moyes stated that he would require at least £100 million to leave the Hammers, so who knows how much that amount has climbed this season.
However, it should not be forgotten that United also have a number six option considerably closer to home when considering potential possibilities.
Donny van de Beek has had a difficult time at Old Trafford so far, and his loan move to Everton came at a crucial time. Since arriving at Goodison Park, the Dutchman has begun to demonstrate that he has the potential to make a name for himself in the Premier League.
And his performance against Manchester City on Saturday showed exactly what United is missing out on, and why fans have been clamoring for him to be given a chance.
The Netherlands international showed the temperament and skillset needed in midfield to keep the City danger at bay against the league leaders and possibly the finest team in Europe right now.
Van van Beek ensured there was no chance for City to burst away and attack them on the counter during an outstanding first-half performance for the Toffees, rushing back to keep Raheem Sterling on a leash and deny City at every opportunity.
The 24-year-old finished the game tied for second in tackles for the hosts, an achievement made all the more amazing by the fact that he was pulled off with 20 minutes to go due to injury, while also contributing an interception and three clearances to help his team out.
Not only have his on-field performances boosted United’s confidence, but any lingering rumors about his off-field behavior have been dispelled by Frank Lampard, who has hailed him as a “delight” to work with.
“On a professional level, I’ve been very delighted with his fitness and game sharpness since chatting with him and seeing him practise and play,” Lampard said of Van de Beek.
“It doesn’t surprise you, though, when you watch him train.
“He was a top-level player during his tenure at Manchester United, in my opinion.
“He was at Manchester United when he was signed, and he was at Ajax when I played against him.
“When you’re going through a difficult period, there are a variety of ways to respond. I’m sure it was difficult, but he proves that if you keep your wits about you, keep your head down, and work hard enough, there’s always a way out, and people will always respect you for it.”
Rice would undoubtedly be a fantastic signing for United next season, based on his recent performances.
However, if he proves to be just out of reach, Van de Beek has demonstrated that United may already have a much cheaper solution to their midfield problems at Old Trafford.