Erik ten Hag accepts £40m midfielder has to leave Man Utd

  • Erik ten Hag acknowledges Donny van de Beek's struggles
  • Midfielder has already said he could leave Man Utd in search of chances
  • A summer exit for the £40m signing failed to materialise

Erik ten Hag hasn't been using an experienced international player
Erik ten Hag hasn't been using an experienced international player / Ahmad Mora/GettyImages
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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has accepted that it might be in the best interest of Donny van de Beek to leave Old Trafford in pursuit of playing time.

Van de Beek scored on his United debut in 2020 but has struggled to nail down a place in the team virtually ever since. That hasn't changed despite being reunited with former Ajax boss Ten Hag and the midfielder has only been afforded 21 minutes of action across all competitions this season.

Ten Hag appears reticent to stand in Van de Beek's way if a departure is what he wants.

"I can see he has to play for his career and for everything," the United boss said.

Van de Beek had already gone public with his desire to start playing regularly and explained he has reached a point where, despite making good money at United, he has a "choice" to make.

"I have to start playing matches very soon, if not at Manchester United, then at another club," he told De Telegraaf last weekend. "I think this is a healthy ambition. I've always been an enthusiast. I'm absolutely crazy about football. I earn a good living at Manchester United, but money has never been my motivation. I want to enjoy my work every day.


Donny van de Beek
Donny van de Beek is stuck in the shadows / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

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"Last season I was sidelined for months due to my knee injury. You miss it terribly and appreciate even more that you have a wonderful profession. I am at a legendary club and I am still proud every day to wear the Manchester United shirt. But I'm bursting with energy now that I'm in great shape again and I'm training like crazy. Then the moment comes when you have to make a choice.

"I'm excited to play matches again. The manager now makes different choices. We have a great selection and I'm not the only one knocking on the door. We'll see what happens in January."

Under Ten Hag at Ajax, Van de Beek became one of the best emerging young midfielders in Europe. The Dutchman played a key role in Ajax getting to within a kick of the 2019 Champions League final and was later nominated for that year's Ballon d’Or as a result of his performances.

Real Madrid were linked with his signature as an alternative to long-term target Paul Pogba, but Van de Beek wound up joining Manchester United in a £40m deal in the summer of 2020. He then started only four Premier League games in his debut season and chances only reduced from then on.

90min reported during the summer that Van de Beek was exploring options to leave, with discussions taking place with a number of European clubs – including casual enquiries from AC Milan, Inter and Roma. OGC Nice, Celtic and even Ajax were other possibilities, but nothing was agreed.


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