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Forget Maguire: Man United must ditch Donny van de Beek

While much of the talk surrounding Manchester United has been centred on the club’s search for a new centre-forward, manager Erik ten Hag may also be considering who he could move on from his squad in the coming weeks.

Rumours had been circulating on Sunday that club captain Harry Maguire could be on his way to Premier League rivals Aston Villa after being spotted near the Midlands outfit’s training ground, throwing into doubt his future at Old Trafford.

Although speculation regarding a switch to Villa Park was swiftly quashed, there is still a feeling that the 29-year-old is destined to depart sooner rather than later, following previous reports that claimed Ten Hag is looking to move the £190k-per-week defender on at the end of the season.

With the former Leicester City man having impressed for his country at the World Cup, however – earning praise for his “quality” from club legend Patrice Evra – there may still be a way back for the £80m addition at United, with an exit not seemingly a guarantee this summer.

One man who should well be shown the door either in January or come the end of the current campaign is Donny van de Beek, with the floundering Dutchman having been tipped for a departure in recent months.

The 25-year-old has no doubt endured his fair share of misfortune, after sustaining a cruel injury blow during the win over Bournemouth in midweek, although rarely has the playmaker managed to impress when handed a chance.

Having been signed on a £35m deal from Ajax back in the summer of 2020, the midfielder has gone on to earn just 23 starts in all competitions since then, including a measly tally of just six starts in the league – excluding his brief loan stint at Everton.

The once-promising asset never appeared in favour under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and interim boss Ralf Rangnick, while even the appointment of compatriot Ten Hag – who coached Van de Beek in Amsterdam – has failed to spark much improvement with regard to game time.

Although it could be argued that opportunities have been few and far between for the Netherlands international during his stint at the Theatre of Dreams, the 6-foot dud has hardly warranted a more prominent role in truth, having offered little when he has featured.

That was evident prior to the World Cup break as the £120k-per-week man was handed three successive starts against Real Sociedad and Villa (twice), although was unable to provide a single goal contribution in any of those outings.

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The struggling figure was particularly “anonymous” – as per Manchester Evening News journalist Steven Railston – in the defeat to the Villans in the league, with that outing rubberstamping why he should “he shouldn’t be anywhere near the starting XI“, according to Railston.

With Van de Beek firmly into his third season at the club, it would seem he has had more than enough time to showcase his talent, hence the need for Ten Hag to ruthlessly move him on before the end of the window, or during the summer.