Donny van de Beek only became a Manchester United player a year ago, but the writing could already be on the wall for the technically gifted midfielder.
After joining the Red Devils from boyhood club Ajax in a £40 million deal last summer, Van de Beek struggled for game time during his maiden Premier League campaign, starting just four top-flight fixtures.
His lack of action led to speculation that the Netherlands international could seek pastures new in the recently concluded transfer window, with a loan move to Everton widely rumoured.
However, the midfielder has played down any talk that he was close to leaving in an interview with former United ace Rio Ferdinand, insisting that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was certain about his future at the club.
“No, I spoke with the manager and the club, and they said they wanted me to stay here,” Van de Beek explained to Ferdinand on his YouTube channel (as relayed by The Mirror).
“The manager was really positive about me, and he said ‘I need you, and I want to keep you here’. He also said: ‘What I see from you every day at training, is a different Donny now’,” he added.
“He was really positive about me, and now I am feeling well, I am in good shape, and I hope that I can show the fans that I have improved a lot. He said he sees a big difference, maybe I am a bit stronger now, and he can see that I have one year of experience in England now.”
Nevertheless, despite Van de Beek’s positive outlook, it appears as though the Old Trafford outfit are already lining up a potential replacement for the 24-year-old.
Well-known journalist and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has recently revealed that Leicester City maestro Youri Tielemans is on United’s wishlist, possibly resulting in the Dutchman’s departure.
“I am told that he is on many top clubs’ list. Real Madrid have his name in mind for the future, Barcelona the same,” Romano said (as relayed by the Leicester Mercury).
“In England, many clubs are interested. Manchester United have to decide on Paul Pogba, but Tielemans is one to watch for the future for Manchester United.”
Although Pogba has entered the final year of his current contract with the 20-time English champions, his style varies greatly from that of Tielemans, and it’s unlikely that the Leicester gem would be considered a direct successor for the World Cup-winning colossus.
As a result, it’s likely to be Van de Beek that makes way for the Belgium international should United make their move, with Bruno Fernandes instrumental to their play and Fred and McTominay positioned further back.
It’s been a frustrating spell on English shores for Van de Beek, and he’ll surely be hoping to use this season as a platform to showcase his true ability on the biggest of stages.