Young Player Profile: Real Madrid Target Donny van de Beek

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Donny van de Beek
THESSALONIKI, GREECE - AUGUST 6: Donny van de Beek of Ajax during the UEFA Champions League match between PAOK Saloniki v Ajax at the Toumba Stadium on August 6, 2019 in Thessaloniki Greece (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)

With the pursuit of Paul Pogba seeming fruitless, Real Madrid are looking towards a younger alternative. Here’s a look at Donny van de Beek and how he might fit in the capital side’s plans.

Donny van de Beek Profile

Offensive Contribution

The Ajax academy has produced a lot of players with technical brilliance. Real Madrid could do with one right now. Like many of his Dutch counterparts, van de Beek is a cultured midfielder who operates between the lines.

He looks to receive the ball in tight spaces and turn to dribble. His dribbling is neat and effective. The Dutchman doesn’t use flashy tricks to get past his man. He looks to drive at his marker with pace and power. This is something Madrid has lacked, especially when Isco goes off tune.

Donny is also adept at scoring goals. He had a good output last season (17 goals and 13 assists in all competitions) and often arrives late in the box to convert. His finishing is technically sound too.

Panic seems to be alien to him as shown by his strike against Juventus in the first leg of their quarter-final tie. He often finds the corners and looks to place his shots with finesse rather than brute force.

Defensive Attributes

The Dutchman was a key component in the tactical system that coach Ten Haag used. The brilliant Ajax side would contract the midfield and press as a unit. Van de Beek was key in winning the ball higher up the field.

The youngster presses with intensity and guile. His pressing was especially evident against Real Madrid although the Dutch side lost 1-2 in the first leg of their round of 16 tie against the then holders.

His defensive actions are not restricted to pressing. He also drops deep into midfield when out of possession. He tracks back and makes tackles (1.5 per game on an average) when his team is struggling to keep hold of the ball. He’s also a decent presence in both boxes and has room to grow physically.

Would He Fit at Real Madrid?

The answer to anybody’s fit at Real Madrid is tricky. This is because of the system (or lack thereof) used by Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman does use a press and it seems to work well at times too. However, the press is usually individualistic and not cohesive.

Karim Benzema, Isco and Luka Modric are often seeing pressing higher up the field but don’t find support from their teammates in their efforts. This leaves the capital side exposed to counter attacks. Many La Liga sides exposed this weakness in the previous two seasons as Madrid fell scores behind Barcelona in the title race.

However, Real Madrid could use the Dutchman’s pressing capabilities to their advantage. If signed, Donny would play a similar role to Isco as a floater in the diamond. The defensive press is often centred around this role.

His position would determine when and with what intensity the forwards would be pressing. This would then be complemented by the press put forward by the supporting and holding midfielders. His work rate and defensive actions are superior to Isco and James. His passing and creativity are neat too.

The Spanish side always wants output from midfield and that’s also a plus point in his game. At 22 years of age, he could be one of the main young prospects along with Dani Ceballos that Real can harvest.

Real will have to be patient with him if he is to sign with them. He should and perhaps would be given some bedding in time at the club. He could easily become the next Luka Modric for the Spanish giants.

But he could just as easily become the next Mateo Kovacic. If Madrid can’t get Paul Pogba and aren’t convinced about Christian Eriksen, Donny Van de Beek’s profile could be a perfect complementary piece to what the already have.

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