Donny van de Beek’s future has come under question in recent weeks after a difficult debut season with Manchester United.
It has led to speculation that the midfielder could leave Old Trafford just one year into his five-year contract.
After signing from Ajax for around £35m last summer, many heralded the arrival as a decent coup for the Red Devils.
But it has not worked out as he would have liked, with the 24-year-old completing just three 90 minute matches in the Premier League last season.
Real Madrid have ramped up their interest, report the Daily Star, while Mirror Football understands Van de Beek was keen on a move to the Bernabeu last summer.
So, what is in store for Van de Beek?
Van de Beek was over the moon to complete a move to United last summer when he completed a dream £35m but he might have a different feeling now.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has used the midfielder sparingly, starting just four matches in the Premier League with Scott McTominay and Fred preferred as a pivot.
With Eduardo Camavinga being eyed this summer in a £26m deal, that would further push the ex-Ajax star down.
Perhaps one of Van de Beek’s worst moments came during a rare start against West Ham in the FA Cup where United were turgid, bogged down and looked hopeless going forward.
It was no surprise to see Fernandes introduced for the Netherlands international, who looked over at the fourth official almost waiting for his number to come up.
It summed up his Red Devils career up to that point, no spark but desperate for that moment to kickstart his career, but Solskjaer’s trust has now completely waned.
Real Madrid interest
As reported by the Daily Star, Real Madrid are ready to ramp up their interest in Van de Beek this summer transfer window.
It is easy to see why, the midfield at the Bernabeu is aging badly and is in dire need of a revamp.
Chelsea won the battle in the centre of the pitch with ease during their Champions League exit, with N’Golo Kante bossing the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.
Van de Beek would inject that much-needed tenacity and dogged work-rate that has been missing for Los Blancos.
It would also suggest that they are ready to move on from their pursuit of Paul Pogba, a player that was high on Zinedine Zidane’s wish list, but Carlo Ancelotti has other ideas.
Despite Pogba being in the final year of his contract, the Red Devils would be more reluctant to lose the Frenchman than Van de Beek considering his importance to the first-team.
Old transfer wishes
Prior to joining United in August 2020, Real Madrid were also sniffing around but were strapped financially over making a move due to the Covid pandemic and renovation works to the Bernabeu.
It left the door open at Old Trafford but Van de Beek’s first love was Los Blancos – a club he is infatuated with.
Real’s recent history with Dutch players has been a mixed bag with Royston Drenthe, Rafael van der Vaart, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar all experiencing very different spells.
But Van de Beek was sure he would end up at Madrid having been courted by them for a number of years at Ajax.
Their reluctance to up their efforts at a pivotal moment in his career saw the midfielder ultimately make the decision to move on from his Real dream and sign for United.
What does the future hold?
So, what does Van de Beek? Does he stay at United and try fight for his spot? Leave for his dream club Real Madrid? Or go a completely different direction?
There have been murmurs that if he was to leave, it would be to La Liga while United’s pursuit of Raphael Varane could play a big role.
What should Van de Beek do this summer? Leave your comments below.
According to The Sun, Ancelotti is prepared to let the Frenchman go if Van de Beek came the other way on an initial loan deal.
That could be the best course of action for the 24-year-old, who must get his career back on track.
Of course, next season could be totally different for Van de Beek – and sometimes it takes players a year to acclimatise to the Premier League – cases include Fabinho and Bernardo Silva.
Undoubtedly, the Dutchman is abundantly talented and deserves to be a star somewhere – whether that is at Old Trafford remains to be seen.