Going into the summer transfer window, Juventus could only hope for a complete overhaul in their midfield. The incompetency and the inconsistency depicted in the midfielders’ performances throughout the 2020/21 season allegedly cost Andrea Pirlo his job, many believe.
Being skint amid the ill consequences inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, however, meant the Bianconeri couldn’t help but just hope.
The premises of an underwhelming future turned into the likelihood of sheer optimism when the Old Lady went on to secure the highly-anticipated deal for Manuel Locatelli. The European champion penned a five-year contract until June 2026 in a deal that will see Sassuolo, the selling club, eventually pocket €35 million (plus various performance-related add-ons).
From making the collective output of a topsy-turvy midfield better to scoring a decisive goal in Derby della Mole to hand Juventus a much-needed victory, Manuel Locatelli has certainly made a perfect start to his new life in Turin.
But is that good enough for Juventus?
If reports being extensively covered by Italian media are believed to be true, Juventus are pondering upon adding another midfielder to their ranks in the upcoming January transfer window, with the name of Donny van de Beek emerging as an option.
Juventus’ interest in the 24-year-old Dutch midfielder has been hovering in the air for a while. But recently, it was Italian transfer expert Nicolò Schira, who provided us with the latest update on the grapevine.
According to Schira, Juventus are showing a fair amount of interest in van de Beek, who wants to leave Manchester United as soon as possible. It’s believed that Juve’s sporting director, Federico Cherubini, has recently held talks with the player’s agent, Guido Albers. Juve are said to be interested in concluding a loan deal with an option to buy this January but could also face a potential contest from Newcastle United, who have recently been boosted financially by the £300m Saudi-backed takeover.
The initial claims were subsequently confirmed by Daniele Longo, another Italy-based journalist. He, quote-tweeting Nicolò Schira’s previous tweet, added that Juventus would have to offload some players first if they were to sign Donny van de Beek in January, with clubs like Barcelona and Inter Milan also keeping an eye on the developing situations.
Why is the Dutchman willing to leave Manchester United?
Manchester United were aware of the sublime impact Bruno Fernandes had made while playing in the number 10 position after joining the Mancunian club back in January 2020. Ole Gunnar Solskajer, United’s manager, was hence determined to keep on playing the 4-2-3-1 system that includes the presence of a natural number 10 behind the frontline. But back then, Fernandes was the only fitting candidate for the respective position, meaning the club needed to sign someone.
The opportunity to add a reinforcement arrived in the next summer transfer window when United, out of the blue, signed Donny van de Beek for an initial transfer fee of £35 million from Ajax. Van de Beek’s acquisition was United’s first that summer and it might’ve been the fastest deal the club has concluded in recent times. However, the Dutchman’s time at Old Trafford has not panned out as the player would’ve wanted.
Despite scoring on his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace, van de Beek would like to wipe out the memories of the first season at his new club. In a campaign where United were the runners-up in both Premier League and the UEFA Europa League, the Dutchman played only 1,456 minutes spreading across 36 appearances (per Transfermarkt) in all competitions, logging just one aforementioned goal and two assists. The lack of game time was understandable, considering it was his first season in a new league and new country.
Much was written in the papers regarding the £35m man spending most of his time on the bench, but everything went mute once Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as per other stories, supposedly assured the former Ajax star that he would play an integral part in United’s 2021/22 season.
Now, those seem to be vain reassurances, with the 24-year-old having played only 141 minutes across three matches.
Van de Beek is obviously unsatisfied with United’s handling of the aspiring prospect. Solskjaer signed him as a cover for Bruno Fernandes. But since joining the Mancunian club, Fernandes has never been injured, making it difficult for the Norwegian to drop the Portuguese creator and make way for the Dutchman.
And despite playing in different positions across the midfield, van de Beek has failed to inspire Solskjaer with his eye-catching attributes. Due to the lack of involvement with the club, the player has lost his place in the Dutch national side as well under Louis van Gaal, a former Manchester United manager. In all, van de Beek is now a frustrated figure at United. If he is willing to play club football regularly and regain his place in the Dutch team, a move away from the Old Trafford faithful thus appears to be the only viable route.
Should Juventus pursue Donny Van de Beek in January?
Before joining Manchester United on a permanent deal, van de Beek was touted to be one of the most prolific prospects in Europe and getting linked with a move to all the European heavyweights, meaning this Dutchman already had everything to play for a top side.
If those stories of him looking to find a new club are something to go by, van de Beek might be growing restless to play competitive football regularly. Juventus should take advantage of the situation as early as the January transfer window.
A graduate of Ajax’s illustrious academy, Donny has the uncanny ability to play one-touch passes swiftly. His control on the ball is impressive and his versatility allows him to play various midfield positions to a high level. While Solskjaer has failed to make room for van de Beek, perhaps Massimiliano Allegri could?
For Juventus, a loan deal with an option to buy does look sensible since the Dutchman is bound to Manchester United until June 2025. Any permanent move now would warrant Juve paying an exorbitant amount of cash. And given that the Old Lady has recently confirmed the economic loss of €209.9 million ($246.2 million) for the 2020/21 fiscal year, recording the second-highest financial loss for a Serie A club to date, it is impossible for the Bianconeri to think of a permanent buy in January.
And even if it turns out to be a loan deal, Juventus might have to offload some outcasts first. Weston McKennie and Aaron Ramsey are those looking to move on from Turin this January. Van de Beek’s services will be extremely beneficial for this Juventus side. However, it would be interesting to see how quickly Juventus could get the deal over the line.