Donny van de Beek’s second chance if Erik ten Hag becomes Man Utd manager

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Donny van de Beek could get a second chance at Manchester United if Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is the man that Old Trafford officials finally decide to appoint as the club’s new permanent manager.

Ten Hag has already been interviewed by United as they weigh up options to take control from current interim boss Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season. Mauricio Pochettino, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique are also names thought to be on that shortlist.

Ten Hag spoke to the club on Monday, with Pochettino, Lopetegui and Enrique all expected to follow suit. 90min understands that United are keen to make a decision sooner rather than later, potentially before the end of this international break, even if it isn’t publicly communicated.

Influenced by Pep Guardiola during a spell on the staff at Bayern Munich, Ten Hag has risen to prominence over the last five years as Ajax head coach. He has won two domestic doubles and put the club back on the map in Europe, even getting within a kick of the 2019 Champions League final.

His record of developing emerging talents – Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt emerged as two of the best young players in the world under his guidance – as well as getting the best out of more established players like Dusan Tadic and Sebastien Haller has won him plenty of admirers.

Van de Beek was a huge part of Ten Hag’s success at Ajax prior to being sold to United in 2020. The midfielder had been nominated for the Ballon d’Or in 2019 and scored crucial goals during the famed Champions League run. At one stage, he was even expected to join Real Madrid following the Spanish side’s failure to prise Paul Pogba away from Old Trafford.

As such, his capture by United was widely praised when he arrived from Amsterdam. Van de Beek even scored on his Premier League debut, yet things soon turned sour for the Dutchman. He started only a handful of games all season and things got no better in the first half of 2021/22.

Speaking to the Dutch media in December, Ten Hag had expressed dismay over Van de Beek’s lack of chance since moving to Manchester.

“Donny, I find that hard. [It’s a] mortal sin. If you haven’t had a chance yet, then development will also stall,” he said at the time.

Van be Beek’s January loan to Everton was billed as a fresh start for the 24-year-old to prove himself in the Premier League with more regular games. But things have been difficult for him in a poor Toffees side in danger of being sucked into a relegation fight and he remains drained of confidence.

There is no option to buy in the loan agreement with Everton, which means Van de Beek will almost certainly be returning to Old Trafford in summer. If he arrives back to discover his former mentor suddenly in the hotseat, it could be the necessary reset that his career needs.


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