Paul Merson has made the bizarre suggestion that Donny van de Beek was a ‘panic buy’ at Manchester United.
United confirmed Van de Beek as their first summer signing this week and have drawn praise for what looks like an incredibly astute piece of transfer business.
As per BBC Sport, United agreed an initial £35m fee with Ajax for the Dutch midfielder, plus a further £5m in add-ons.
Van de Beek, 23, boasts European pedigree, versatility and potential so it’s clear to see why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to add him to his ranks at Old Trafford.
But Sky Sports pundit Merson does not share the popular view on the van de Beek signing, believing his arrival wasn’t initially planned and will inhibit opportunities for other players
“Donny Van de Beek looks like a panic buy at Manchester United. I don’t get it. They just spent £40m on a position where they are already strong,” he told the Daily Star.
“And how does he play with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes? You have to have someone who can play the holding role.
“That signing looked to me like: ‘Oh we haven’t bought anyone yet, let’s go and buy someone, who can we get?’
“When you look at their midfield, Fred was improving, and they’ve got Scott McTominay. Now they won’t get a game. And they just gave Nemanja Matic a new contract. Would they have done that if they knew they were getting Van de Beek?
Contrary to Merson’s unfounded suggestions, United have had a long-held interest in van de Beek and have been tracking the Dutchman for some time.
The Athletic reported that United first made contact with van de Beek’s representatives last year after his outstanding performances helped Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.
United’s interest then was described as ‘modest’, but the Reds capitalised on Real Madrid’s inability to spend big this summer and convinced van de Beek to move to Manchester.
Van de Beek will add strength in depth to United’s midfield and allow Solskjaer plenty more welcome selection dilemmas ahead of the season.