Tottenham Hotspur must regret it. The player must certainly regret it. Perhaps the north Londoners missed a final piece of the jigsaw this summer transfer window…
There is an argument to be made that Spurs are yet to fully replace Christian Eriksen following his departure back in January.
Yes, we’re finally seeing a breakthrough for Tanguy Ndombele but neither he nor Giovani Lo Celso looks to be the complete creative threat from attacking midfield. The Dane scored and assisted goals for fun in N17, contributing to a total of 158 goals in 305 appearances, per Transfermarkt.
Perhaps they were looking at his ideal successor in former Ajax sensation Donny van de Beek, who subsequently joined Premier League rivals Manchester United in a £40m deal.
According to the Mirror, the Red Devils succeeded with a last-gasp bid to clinch the 23-year-old ahead of Spurs. There were even claims that Dutch teammate Steven Bergwijn tried to convince him to sign.
Van de Beek seemed to be the ideal player to fill that creative void.
Lo Celso has only scored four and assisted three, failing to average over 1.4 key passes per game in any competition, since arriving last summer whilst Ndombele has contributed to eight goals, managing no more than 1.3 key passes per game in any league.
For the Eredivisie champions, the 23-year-old scored at least eight goals and assisted at least five goals in every Dutch top-flight campaign since 2017/18, via WhoScored.
This is very much in the same ilk as Eriksen, who never six goals in any Premier League campaign and only dipped below nine assists twice, per Transfermarkt.
During his final season at the Johan Cruyff Arena, van de Beek averaged 1.8 key passes, a career-best number.
Amid interest from Juventus, former youth coach Brandon Roy waxed lyrical over his talents, and said: “Physically he has always been devastating, since he knows how to attack and defend with the same skill. He was very shy but already smart on the playing field. He is a total footballer, offensive runs are one of his great specialities.”
Spurs have relied heavily on the exploits of Heung-min Son and Harry Kane already this season – the pair have combined for 13 goals in the Premier League already, which is a new record.
Someone like van de Beek in the hole would have been absolutely perfect for Mourinho. Instead, he’s slaving away on the bench at Old Trafford.
Not only should Daniel Levy rue the late steal from United, but the player too as he was never going to start ahead of Bruno Fernandes.
AND in other news, £80k-per-week Spurs star was absolutely anonymous vs Burnley…