Man Utd: Solskjaer admits to 'baby steps' in title push
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Donny van de Beek is, simply put, wasted at Manchester United. Big things were expected of the Netherlands international upon arriving from Ajax back in the summer transfer window but, so far, his time at Old Trafford is yet to live up to expectations. And using him in a swap deal to land Borussia Dortmund hitman Erling Haaland would certainly make perfect sense.
Manchester United’s match against Leeds was dull.
Both teams failed to carve out sufficient openings at Elland Road, producing a lacklustre 90 minutes of action in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after the game that he was content with what he saw.
“I’ve not seen many teams in the second half dominate as much as we did against Leeds, because they are so fit and strong,” he said.
“The intensity of their game has been so good, they steamroll teams, but I felt we almost did that to them second half.
“I really liked what I saw out there, we dominated and played in their half.
“We kept them away from our goal, away from our half really, so I’m really happy about that.”
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But, for Van de Beek, it was another bad day at the office.
It’s not his fault, of course. Not his fault that Ed Woodward signed him instead of Jack Grealish, who was Solskjaer’s top target.
It’s also not his fault that Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes are so good, either. He’s a peg without a spare hole, somebody just there at Old Trafford to make up the numbers.
Last weekend, Solskjaer brought Van de Beek off the bench in his side’s Premier League clash with Burnley.
And the Dutchman sparkled upon entering the fray, providing the assist for Edinson Cavani to find the net.
But, against Leeds, he was deemed worthy of just two minutes of action. The game, by the time he was introduced, was always going to end in a draw.
It is the latest issue for Van de Beek, who has struggled for action all season. He’s made just 16 appearances in the Premier League this term, despite being fit for the most part.
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United fans were disgruntled with Solskjaer for leaving it so late to bring the 24-year-old on.
But it’s clear, by this point, he simply doesn’t have the 48-year-old’s backing or trust. What he’s like in training to be treated like this is a mystery.
So with Van de Beek struggling at United, and no end to his misery looking in sight, a swap deal with Borussia Dortmund makes perfect sense.
The Bundesliga giants are admirers of the playmaker and it was previously reported by 90min.com they’d be willing to take him on board.
Obviously, Haaland is worth far more than the £40million United paid for the Dutchman back in the summer transfer window.
He’s probably worth three or four times that, with the Norway international taking German football by storm with Dortmund over the past 15 months.
But with United feeling the impact of the coronavirus crisis behind the scenes, Van de Beek may be the ideal way of driving Dortmund’s price tag down.
It would, certainly, make sense. For all parties involved.
United would be able to save face and avoid letting Van de Beek go for a reduced fee.
They’ve done that too many times in recent years, taking losses on the likes of Angel Di Maria, Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin in particular.
Dortmund, in turn, would be getting a player perfectly suited to their system.
And United would then be getting a world-class striker in Haaland, something that’s certainly needed given the uncertainty over Cavani’s future.
Meanwhile, speaking last month, Netherlands boss Frank De Boer admitted Van de Beek wasn’t happy at Old Trafford.
He did, though, admit the player wasn’t ready to quit the club just yet.
“I spoke to Ajax and they said there’s no truth in it at all. He didn’t ask to speak to them,” he said amid claims Van de Beek could return to Amsterdam.
“He’s just focusing on his recovery on his ankle, and it’s not true that he asked Man Utd to leave.
“His agent also told me that of course he’s not happy that he’s not playing. He’s only had two starts under Solskjaer and that’s not what he hoped for when he joined Man Utd.
“He’s not worried, of course he wants to play every game. But he’s not worried that he can’t succeed.
“He has to have a review after this year, asking where do I stand? Do I have a possibility to succeed here or not? Otherwise, I have to make a move.
“We will see where he’s heading next year, maybe he stays at Man Utd or maybe another club is interesting for him.
“But he’s not panicking at all, he told the manager he’s so happy at Man Utd because the club is one of the best in terms of how they treat him, he feels loved.”
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