Donny van de Beek could be given a lifeline to revive his career away from Manchester United without ending his hopes of making it at Old Trafford, according to reports.
Van de Beek struggled to live up to his initial £35m price tag after joining Man Utd from Ajax in summer 2020. He may have scored on his debut, but what followed was a disappointment. The midfielder barely got a chance to start, featuring just four times from the first whistle in the Premier League.
Even in cup competitions, there were very few chances for Van de Beek to show what he can do. By the end of the season, that debut goal remained his only one in a United shirt.
As such, there have been rumours that he could seek an exit this summer. However, reports – and his agent – have denied that he will be looking to leave United, with the club also said to be keen to keep him still.
Van de Beek remains under contract until 2025, with an option for a further year. Thus, he is a long-term project for the club, even though at the age of 24 they may have been expecting more from him.
Under no pressure to sell, though, United have to consider what the best next step is for Van de Beek. If Paul Pogba is sold, there could be a space for the Dutchman in midfield, but if not, he faces another tough year of fighting for a place.
Therefore, one solution could be for him to go out on loan in order to rebuild his confidence. According to Corriere Dello Sport, he could be an option for AC Milan on such terms.
Milan secured their long-awaited return to the Champions League by the end of last season and are currently planning for the following campaign. However, they will be deprived of two key players, as Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu are leaving as free agents.
They have already secured a replacement for the former, with Mike Maignan arriving in goal. But they still require an attacking midfielder in the wake of the latter’s exit to cross-city rivals Inter.
While Van de Beek plays in slightly deeper and more central territory than Calhanoglu, he could help fill the void.
United and Milan have already established a line of communication, as Diogo Dalot made a similar move for the 2020-21 season. Therefore, they may discuss Van de Beek as well.
Van de Beek tipped for Liverpool
A move to Milan certainly seems more likely as the scenario presented by one pundit recently.
Ajax legend Sjaak Swart suggested that Van de Beek would be a good replacement for his compatriot Georginio Wijnaldum at Liverpool.
“He played really great at Ajax, until he left,” said Swart (via SportWitness)
“He was ready for abroad. But at United they have 8 or 9 midfielders, and you have to intervene, then it takes time.
“That is a choice [about his future] he has to make himself, whether he feels like he needs to leave. I am not worried about him.
“He would fit right in with other clubs. If I look at Liverpool and Wijnaldum is leaving now, he will be a wonderful replacement. Or for Thomas Müller, at Bayern Munich.”
Instead, it looks like Milan is a much more realistic route out of Old Trafford if Van de Beek wants to get back on track. But if it is just on loan, it may not jeopardise his hopes of one day becoming a United success.