Manchester United are on the verge of signing Donny van de Beek, according to reports. He’s a player who would be perfect for Liverpool – but Reds fans shouldn’t worry.
Numerous outlets, including the BBC, report that Van de Beek will imminently join United. He’ll cost around £40m, they say, and join the club on a five-year contract from Ajax.
Now, we’re quite disappointed with this one. We wrote a year ago that Van de Beek would be an ideal signing for Liverpool and hoped he’d be available.
As it turned out, he was available – only Liverpool aren’t the ones signing him. Even worse, it’s their arch-rivals who are.
So why do we see Van de Beek as an ideal Liverpool player? For starters, he fits the basic profile of a successful midfielder under Jurgen Klopp – he’s physical, versatile, and can run for 90 minutes.
But he also offers what Liverpool don’t quite have from the middle – goals and assists. The Dutchman has scored 40 goals over the last three seasons, adding another 30 assists. They’re the kind of numbers that just don’t exist in Liverpool’s midfield.
So take that productivity, add it to his physical profile, and you get a player who Klopp could work wonders with. But alas, it isn’t to be. He’s off to Old Trafford.
But despite all that, we don’t believe Liverpool fans should be too down on this one. So here’s why.
You don’t always get what you want
In truth, you can wave off all opposition transfers with ‘they’re simply trying to catch up with Liverpool’. There is more to this one, though.
Liverpool have built their hugely successful team on the back of consistency. They play 4-3-3 every week, with a very predictable XI, in a predictable style. And it works wonders. They didn’t even make any transfers a year ago but improved massively.
Consistency works wonders, then, but it does come at a price. It’s incredibly difficult to justify signing players – especially when you don’t have space.
Liverpool have a core group of about 18 players. Splitting that up is tough, meaning Liverpool don’t choose to sell unless a player isn’t playing much. So much so, in fact, that they’ll let players run down their contracts just to keep them around. They did it with Emre Can, they did it with Adam Lallana, and they’re currently doing it with Gini Wijnaldum.
Thus Liverpool have to really need a player before they move for him – even if they want the signing. And right now, as champions and with so many midfielders on the books, they don’t need Van de Beek.
They’re struggling to justify a move for Thiago, even. And if you can’t justify signing an incredibly talented player who has won virtually everything, you’ll fail to justify signing someone from the Eredivisie.
The other reason fans shouldn’t be too worried is that this almost certainly isn’t a transfer that turns United into a threat. Van de Beek is a great player but what United need? We’re really not sure about that.
A midfielder who can provide goals and assists isn’t exactly what they’re lacking. They signed Bruno Fernandes in January, for one. And they’ve already got Paul Pogba.
Given that they play with a midfield three, it just seems like a bit of a strange transfer. A midfield trio that can score goals? Yes. A solid one that will win you tight games? Not for us.
We’ll have to wait and see, of course. But for right now, as good as Van de Beek is, this isn’t the massive loss for Liverpool that we feared a year ago.