Donny van de Beek: Would a Crystal Palace loan move suit the Manchester United midfielder?

The Dutchman could soon be on his way to Selhurst Park, according to reports.
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Donny van de Beek is one of several names being linked with moves away from Manchester United ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline day.

The No.34 has endured a tough season and a half since joining from Ajax in the summer of 2020. While he’s made 50 appearances for the Red Devils, just 19 of those have been starts, and none have come in the league this season.

It’s for that reason van de Beek is so clearly frustrated at United and even Ralf Rangnick has acknowledged his desire to play regular first-team football in the build-up to the 2022 World Cup.

After all, this is a player who two years ago was seen as one of the most-coveted young players in Europe, but his time at Manchester has been hugely underwhelming.

Van de Beek has spent most of his time at United on the bench. Credit: Getty.Van de Beek has spent most of his time at United on the bench. Credit: Getty.
Van de Beek has spent most of his time at United on the bench. Credit: Getty.

It’s based on those showings for Ajax that Patrick Vieira clearly thinks van de Beek is a worthwhile addition to his squad, and recent reports suggest a loan move could happen before the window closes.

What’s been reported?

Reports earlier this week had suggested Crystal Palace and Valencia had contacted United regarding the possibility of bringing van de Beek in on loan.

Since then, the Daily Mail claim there is ‘significant hope’ that a deal will be concluded between the clubs, with negotiations going well so far.

Meanwhile, the Daily Star report van de Beek ‘begged’ United to allow him to leave, while Sky Sports claim Dennis Bergkamp triggered the talks between Palace and the Red Devils - the ex-Arsenal striker is the father of van de Beek’s girlfriend and has been close friends with Vieira since their time at the Gunners.

Vieira and Bergkamp were part of Arsenal's ‘Invincibles’ team. Credit: Getty.Vieira and Bergkamp were part of Arsenal's ‘Invincibles’ team. Credit: Getty.
Vieira and Bergkamp were part of Arsenal's ‘Invincibles’ team. Credit: Getty.

Would Palace suit Van de Beek?

Twelve months ago the Eagles were a very functional side under the tutelage of Roy Hodgson, with the ex-England manager focused on shape and solidity rather than expansive football.

But Vieira’s Palace are very different. They rank ninth for expected goals in the Premier League this season, eight for goals scored for, and sixth for passes attempted.

While still trying to keep that defensive robustness, the South London outfit have developed into a very competitive top-flight side in possession this term, something which would suit van de Beek’s skillset.

There’s also a real sense of expectation under Vieira, the only Premier League captain to ever lead his side to an unbeaten season. The Frenchman demands high standards from his team and again van de Beek could benefit from this, rather than going to a club where he could be slightly indulged.

That’s not to say the 24-year-old wouldn’t expect to command a starting place in the Palace line-up. Despite the undeniable talent of on-loan Conor Gallagher, van de Beek would likely be seen as the most technically proficient midfielder in the squad, and could bring added attacking intent to the centre.

Much of Palace’s midfield options are a nod to Hodgson’s combative style with the likes of Luka Milovojevic, Cheikhou Kouyate and James McArthur still choices for Vieira.

There’s also no doubt van de Beek needs a break from the scrutiny and pressure of life at Old Trafford. He seems jaded and frustrated from the ordeal, and he need only look at Jesse Lingard’s stint at West Ham United last season for proof of how on-loan stars can thrive away from United.

Van de Beek has lost his place in the Netherlands squad. Credit: Getty.Van de Beek has lost his place in the Netherlands squad. Credit: Getty.
Van de Beek has lost his place in the Netherlands squad. Credit: Getty.

A potential Palace move would also offer him the chance to play regular football ahead of the World Cup and prove once and for all if he’s cut out for the rigours of the Premier League. This could also be van de Beek’s opportunity to try and nail down a more permanent position - is he a box-to-box midfielder, someone who helps link the play or a creative No.10? In truth, United fans haven’t really had the chance to form a definitive opinion.

With Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard unlikely to be at the Red Devils next season and a new manager expected to be in charge, an impressive spell at Selhurst Park could see van de Beek hold a very different role in the United squad next summer.

But being given the opportunity to showcase his talent is the key in this protracted saga, something which van de Beek has been unable to do during his first 18 months in England.