Manchester United are poised to return to Premier League action at King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon – but there are other items on the agenda.
Donny van de Beek and the future of Old Trafford remains a hot topic, especially after the former Ajax player was most recently excluded from the Netherlands roster.
This decision by former United manager Louis van Gaal comes amid a serious lack of games.
who only started four times Premier League In his first season – after a £35m change from the Eredivisie – Van de Beek has played just 141 minutes in three separate competitions this season.
But will he have to give something up on that front before the January transfer window?
With one eye on the mid-season window, many big names remain connected to the club, especially in the ‘problematic’ defensive midfield position.
During the last Q&A session Along with the fans, Samuel Luckhurst, MEN’s chief Manchester United writer, spoke about the transfer business, the Van de Beek situation and a host of other topics.
Here are the highlights from that discussion…
Q: Do you think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will finally change some of his tactics and break the ultra defensive McFred midfield? We’ve seen some news about it in the pre-season, but nothing has changed so far.
SL: I’d be surprised if he tries to make a tactical change now. It would be risky – with these games coming up – and you wouldn’t blame him for sticking to 4-2-3-1. But the staff has to change. As I said before, there are internal solutions to try but Solskjaer they have blind spots with certain players, even if that means knocking them down and their form falling off a cliff (Rashford).
Q: Do you think Solskjaer’s job is safe if the bad situation continues this weekend?
SL: Depends on how poor and how tall it is. If United somehow loses the next four league games, his job won’t be safe. I think United will be surprised and not surprised if the fan mood is more lively going into the November internationals.
If they don’t, Solskjaer has a problem.
Q: Do you think United will go to defensive midfield in January? Of course, if Donny van de Beek leaves.
SL: The only way they’ll sign a midfielder in the middle of the season is if someone leaves – and hiring one still doesn’t give them much leverage to buy a midfielder. In the middle of a season when Pogba is also unlikely to decide (publicly) his future, it would be surprising if they spot a game-changing defensive midfielder.
As mentioned earlier, there are internal solutions to try, McTominay as a holding midfielder or Van de Beek as a midfielder three, turning Matic more effectively, etc.
Q: Fred played against the red-listed Columbia on October 10. Will he be available against Leicester City?
SL: Solskjaer should explain this at his pre-match press conference, but the truth is Fred Reason for travel to South America NEGATIVE Although Solskjaer seems to be looking for excuses to start Fred, to start him against Leicester.
I believe Fred is fully vaccinated so he should be available over the weekend no matter what.
Q: I am confused about how Van de Beek is treated by Ole. It almost seems personal. Do you know anything other than tactics that might explain it? To me, he’s a potentially stronger option than Fred in some formations.
SL: I wrote at length about Van de Beek in several pieces yesterday, pretty much to give some context to his situation and the weekly ‘why did they sign him?’ to answer the question. I really don’t think it’s a personal issue – but it was a third choice at best, and the United hierarchy has come to the point of saying that Solskjaer would only be content with a second choice target in the worst case scenario. So his card was perhaps marked from the very beginning.
When we watched him train in Gdansk during the practice match, he was sharp and vocal, but you can hardly see that from him when he starts, which was admittedly rare. When Van de Beek started, it did not perform properly. He was good at Southampton last year, but the next week was a disaster against Southampton. West Ham was the final spot in the cup.
Will you keep or sell Van de Beek in January? have a say in comments section below.
Other midfielders are clearly more reliable and Solskjaer doesn’t seem to like Van de Beek in the Premier League midfielder two. If he’s going to fit in, he needs to change the line-up, and does Van de Beek deserve a line-up change? No. But a coach who believes in Van de Beek can probably make that change.
He had a respectable performance against the Young Boys and West Ham, so he put another nail in his coffin when he didn’t start against Villarreal or Everton after two defeats at home – and then his backlash against Villarreal aggravated the situation.