During Ajax’s impressive run to the 2019 Champions League semifinal the names Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Hakim Ziyech and Dušan Tadić came up before most. Donny van de Beek though was a consistent midfield performer for the Dutch league and cup champions.
The 22-year-old won the Ajax Talent of the Future award in 2014-2015, receiving a lot of praise for his potential. The midfielder is dynamic and links the midfield and attack well with his passing and runs into the final third. Frank de Boer declared him a central midfielder but Van de Beek is superb in attacking midfield.
His 17 goals and 13 assists last season attracted Real Madrid who may no longer get Christian Eriksen or Paul Pogba. In Van de Beek, they have a young, cheaper option who has all the technical qualities to improve Zidane’s midfield. His dynamism and vision would be a valuable asset as Madrid look to improve on last season’s shambolic campaign. Pertinently he is a big game player having scored important goals against Juventus and Tottenham.
Los Blancos have invested heavily on their squad, spending over €300 million but lack reinforcements to a midfield requiring youth and most-importantly goals. Their midfield trio of Toni Kross, Casemiro and ageing Luka Modric lacks agility and goals, scoring only nine last season. A stark contrast from Van de Beek who already has two goals and three assists in four appearances this season.
The Dutchman’s adaptability to any midfield role stands him in good stead in a world-class squad. He is also a very fit player, appearing in 57 of Ajax’s 58 games last season – in his four years as a senior player he has never missed a matchday squad due to injury.
Real Madrid will not be getting their preferred target but a very capable option who can become a revelation in Spanish football. His winning mentality and experience from last season’s spectacular Champions League campaign will prepare him adequately for life in Madrid. Zinedine Zidane would also be keen to tutor a young player who can be Modric’s long-term replacement.
With the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt already moved on to European superpowers Van de Beek is deserving of a move to Real Madrid as much as his ex-teammates. He had previously drawn interest from Bayern Munich and Barcelona and Madrid are about to seal a mega signing. He might well be the final piece in Real Madrid’s jigsaw for the 2019/2020 season.