It was reported this week that clubs have been canvassed over a potential loan deal for Manchester United’s Donny van de Beek.
The Dutchman was set to join Everton in the summer but stayed at Old Trafford, being assured he would have more minutes on the pitch by then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, he is yet to start in the Premier League this season and is still struggling to get regular playing time even since Ralf Rangnick’s arrival.
A wider consequence of his struggles in England is that the Dutchman has missed three successive call-ups to the Dutch squad, and with the World Cup on the horizon he may not return to Louis van Gaal’s plans.
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This could mean the 24-year-old will want to secure a short-term move in order to play minutes more regularly, and it looks like such options are being explored by those in his side.
With that in mind, it would be interesting to see if Everton rekindle their interest again.
As a profile, Van de Beek is a versatile player who has the potential to bring more quality to Everton’s game in possession.
He’s clean and tidy on the ball with great movement and positioning off him. He will rarely return the ball and recorded an impressive passing success rate of over 86% last season.
However, for United he often seemed almost too cautious with the ball.
At Ajax, ball dominance was key, but at Old Trafford midfielders and forwards are expected to pass and attack with more goal, Bruno Fernandes being the club’s best example of this.
And at Everton, where possession is rarely a priority – Benitez’s men have the second-lowest average in the league so far – they would also need a midfielder who could offer more penetration from the middle.
Strikingly, it should be noted that Van de Beek’s average pass length of 13.87m was the shortest of 101 Premier League midfielders who played more than 600 league minutes last season.
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He also attempted the second fewest progressive passes per 90 in this group as well.
Choosing to play shorter, safer balls instead of attempting more high-risk, high-reward passes has arguably been one of the main reasons he’s struggled to succeed in England so far.
Although for his defense very few minutes on the pitch combined with the nature of his role in cameo appearances, for example arriving late and being expected to retain possession rather than trying actions that could result in turnovers expensive, could have contributed factor to its disappointing impact.
As was a lack of confidence, as he was after all one of the most exciting young midfielders in Europe at Ajax.
His numbers were better there too, he averaged nearly twice as many progressive assists on average for Ajax in his final season as he did for United last term.
Maybe in a more sedentary environment, the Dutchman could get back to his best form again.
And given that Everton don’t have a profile like his currently in the team, it seems logical that they would try to offer him a platform to do so.