Manchester United are expected to hand Ajax star Donny van de Beek a deeper midfield role, according to reports. The Netherlands international is set to be announced as the club’s first arrival of the transfer window later in the week. And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears to have fended off Real Madrid and Barcelona to secure the signature of the 23-year-old.
Manchester United have been eyeing a playmaker throughout the transfer window so far, with Solskjaer aware Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira aren’t up to scratch.
Lingard managed to find the net just once in the Premier League last term, while Pereira failed to make the most of his chances following the departure of Ander Herrera a year ago.
United have moved to sign Van de Beek in a £40m deal, with the Ajax star already telling team-mates in Amsterdam that he’s on his way to Old Trafford.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have both missed out, with the La Liga giants previously admiring the Dutchman.
And the Irish Independent say United are expected to hand Van de Beek a deeper role in Solskjaer’s midfield once his move to the club is officially completed, with the midfielder normally operating at No 10.
The Red Devils are well-stocked in the middle of the park.
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Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba both sparkled towards the end of last season, helping the club finish third in the Premier League table.
Nemanja Matic rolled back the years in the middle of the park, becoming one of the first names on Solskjaer’s team sheet in the process.
And Fred and Scott McTominay both fared well, particularly during the months where Pogba was forced to be a spectator because of injury.
To accommodate Van de Beek, he could sit deeper in midfield to allow Pogba and Fernandes to dictate matches further ahead.
And the prospect of the trio all featuring in the same side will surely excite supporters, with Solskjaer eyeing the Premier League title next term.
After Van de Beek’s move to the club is finalised, United are expected to spend more money as they seek an improved campaign following their return to the Champions League.
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Jadon Sancho remains on their radar, despite Borussia Dortmund being stubborn negotiators so far.
They’d like to sign a centre-back to compete with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, particularly with Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe so injury-prone.
And another striker is being eyed, with Odion Ighalo set to return to Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua when the transfer window reopens in the New Year.
Solskjaer had previously admitted he wanted reinforcements ahead of the new season, saying at the end of the last one: “We still have a way to go to get to the level of the teams at the top of the Premier League. They are too far ahead of us.
“We are still growing, getting better of course, but we are not the finished article. Nowhere near.
“We want to go as far as we possibly can in this tournament. I think we all realise we are in a special moment in history.
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“But that will stretch all the squads and it means you need a big squad for next season.
“You need to plan ahead. It is not just about 11, 12, or 13 players. You have to have 19, 20, 21 or 22 that you really rely on because if you play every three days for a full year it’s going to be mentally and physically difficult.
“We are always working towards having a competitive squad and the challenge for us now is to take the next step.
“That means winning trophies and keep trying to close the gap to the top two teams.
“And we have also got to make sure that the teams who finished below us in the table stay behind us.”
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