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Catalan giants Barcelona have been interested in a number of Ajax’s young stars in the past but if latest reports are to be believed, Ernesto Valverde is keeping an eye on Donny van de Beek. A central midfielder by trade, van de Beek’s talents have been somewhat unnoticed of sorts but the youngster seems like a quality candidate.
Barcelona scouts are understood to have monitored the 20-year-old’s performance against PEC Zwolle in a recent match and the feedback has been positive. But is he worth splashing the cash on this summer?
Let’s take a closer look at van de Beek’s profile to get a better understanding of his quality.
Born in 1997 in Nijkerkerveen, Netherlands, van de Beek embarked on his football career with local club Veensche Boys. After spending the initial years of his development with them, the midfielder then joined Ajax’s esteemed academy. He gradually rose through the ranks and established himself as one of their most promising players and that earned him a promotion to the Jong Ajax team in 2014. Although he made only 6 appearances for them in his first season, van de Beek kept improving and his time on the field increased.
However, from 2016 onwards, van de Beek made more regular appearances for the first-team and there has been no stopping him since then. In fact, 31 appearances for the club this season, he has scored 11 goals and provided 3 assists.
As far as his international career is concerned, van de Beek has appeared U17 to U21 levels for the Netherlands.
Van de Beek boasts of excellent abilities when it comes to passing and making late runs into the box. He is calm, composed and can think clearly even in the most high-pressure situations. The player is quite versatile as well and can take up any role in Ajax’s midfield trio. However, the player seems to do better in a holding role.
He prefers making short passes to maintain fluidity in the game and can hold onto the ball remarkably well, even in tight spaces.
With a club like Barcelona registering an interest in him, there is absolutely no doubt that van de Beek could be tempted to make the move. And while the La Liga leaders are in need of a long-term Andres Iniesta replacement, van de Beek will have to forego regular game time if he makes the move right now. Hence, it might be better for him to stay put at Ajax for the time being and consider moving to a different club probably a few years later.