Edwin van der Sar says he feels ‘sad’ that Donny van de Beek’s move to Manchester United has not worked out so far amid rumours his frustrating stay at Old Trafford will be forced to continue. The Dutch midfielder arrived at the club in a £40million deal from Ajax last summer in what was the Red Devils’ biggest deal of the window, but he has struggled to make an impact. Van de Beek has started just two Premier League matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer while he has not started a single game of their Europa League campaign and was an unused substitute in Thursday’s 6-2 semi-final win over Roma.
United are blessed with a number of options in midfield, with the likes of Fred, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Bruno Fernandes all ahead of Van de Beek in the pecking order. The 24-yer-old’s struggles have seen him linked with a quick exit from Old Trafford, with a return to Ajax even rumoured, but recent reports say United will not let Van de Beek leave this summer even though he is not in Solskjaer’s first-team plans. Now Van der Sar, the former United goalkeeper who is currently chief executive at Ajax, has discussed Van de Beek’s precarious situation and says he is disappointed with how things have worked out for a player who took all the right steps. Asked about his countryman’s predicament at United, Van der Sar told ESPN: ‘Of course I feel sad for Donny.
‘He walked the perfect path before joining United. He joined the [Ajax] first team from the academy, became a starter, won trophies, performed in Europe. ‘But the midfield of Manchester United is too stacked, they’ve not had any injuries. It’s hard for him.’ Van der Sar, who has been linked with a return to United to replace Ed Woodward when he steps down as executive-vice chairman at the end of the year, had previously urged fans to be patient with Van de Beek.
‘I do talk to more people at the club. He’s got a fantastic attitude, he is doing well in training,’ Van der Sar told Ziggo Sport earlier this year. ‘It’s hard. Pogba is coming back, Fernandes is very important, Matic and McTominay, who are there. ‘There’s no shame at all, it’s a big club too, isn’t it? Of course it is a large amount [the transfer fee], but they are confident that he will get there.’