A former Red Devil is confident that the Dutchman will add a new dimension to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side
Donny van de Beek is a “fantastic signing” for Manchester United, according to Darren Fletcher, who says the ex-Ajax star will bring “flexibility” to the Red Devils’ midfield.
United forked out £35 million ($46m) to bring Van de Beek onto their books at the start of the month, as he became Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first signing of the summer transfer window.
The 23-year-old committed to a five-year contract at Old Trafford, and will now be expected to help the Red Devils build on an encouraging third-place Premier League finish in 2019-20.
Ajax became an elite force again on both domestic and European stages with the Netherlands international pulling the strings in the middle of the park, which saw a number of high profile potential suitors stand up and take notice.
Real Madrid and Tottenham had also been heavily linked with Van de Beek, but the playmaker says he took the advice of Johan Cruyff Arena CEO Edwin van der Sar, who played for United between 2005 and 2011, when deciding his next move.
“He [Van der Sar] told me a lot of stories about the club and about everything. He told how big the club is and how nice an experience he had with it,” the Netherlands international said after his unveiling.
Fletcher says the amicable nature of Van de Beek’s Ajax departure speaks volumes about his character, and he is confident that the Red Devil’s newest arrival will fit in well at the Theatre of Dreams.
“He’s a top-class player and I think he’s a fantastic signing,” the former United stalwart told the club’s official website: “For somebody at his age, for that price, I think it’s a no-brainer. I saw him during Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals last season [in 2018-19], he was probably one of the catalysts for that.
“What I like about him is his flexibility in midfield. He understands when he needs to be a No.10 and what he has to do and he understands when he has to be a box-to-box midfielder; he’s got that Ajax upbringing in him and is a cultured footballer.
“I just think he’s a great addition and he seems like a great guy as well, given the way he’s been treated since leaving Ajax and how everyone has spoken about him. There’s nothing better than having players in your team that are top players but good people as well. It definitely goes a long way.”
Fletcher added on the importance of increased competition for places within Solskjaer’s ranks ahead of the new season: “You really need strength in depth in there because you’ve got a big number of games to play and injuries are going to happen, so you need strength in depth all over the pitch.
“When I was at United we had five, six, seven midfielders fighting for two or three spots. And sometimes you got the jersey, you were the man in form and sometimes you were on the outside looking in – that’s just the way it is and the way it should be at a top club. You should be pushing each other.
“You shouldn’t think that you’re an automatic starter, and by adding players like Donny it gives competition for places and that squad depth.”