Former Manchester United star Paul Ince has admitted he’s baffled by the summer deal to bring Donny van de Beek to Old Trafford when manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t play him.
The Netherlands international shone at Ajax but has so far struggled to get regular playing time at Man Utd, and Ince can’t understand why he isn’t getting more opportunities given the competition ahead of him.
The outspoken former Red Devils midfielder has made it clear he thinks he deserves a chance ahead of someone like Fred, who has been mostly underwhelming for much of his time at the club so far.
In general, Ince doesn’t understand why United signed Van de Beek if Solskjaer had no plan to use him.
Ince, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Leicester v Wolves, said: “They’ve spent £40m on Donny Van de Beek and they’re not playing him. I don’t know why they signed him. Maybe there’s a situation where Pogba could be going at the end of the season and Van de Beek could come in.
“But if you’ve spent £40m on a player, you put him in! Put him in the team. No disrespect to Fred but do me a favour… Fred’s OK. He’s OK. He doesn’t score goals, he doesn’t set up goals. Midfield players are supposed to score goals. Even when you watch him shoot – he can’t shoot!
“That’s why you spend money on players, but then you’ve got to put them in the team. Bruno Fernandes came in and was straight in the team. Van de Beek must be sat there thinking ‘what have I done?’
“Recruitment at United has been really, really poor. They’ve always had money to buy players. If you bring players in for those big amounts and you’re not playing them but the team is winning, then great. When you don’t play them and the team isn’t getting results, people will start questioning Ole about recruitment and results. Those two factors combined are going to put pressure on Ole. Recruitment and results.”
This will no doubt be frustrating for United supporters as well, with Van de Beek looking a top talent and an exciting signing when he joined.
With MUFC looking so poor against Arsenal, it’s hard to imagine the 23-year-old couldn’t have added some spark to that midfield and perhaps changed the result.
Fred may have his qualities, but there’s some truth to what Ince is saying about his ability to contribute in an attacking sense, and for a club with traditions like United, one does have to question if he’s ever likely to be the right fit.