Football

Where would Donny van de Beek fit in at Crystal Palace?

Donny van de Beek is a loan target for Crystal Palace. According to BBC Sport, the Eagles want to sign the midfielder until the end of the season.

The 24-year-old’s struggles since moving to Manchester United have been well documented. He made the switch from Ajax in August 2020 for around £35m. Since then, things have not gone to plan for either club or player.

He has featured just eight times in the Premier League this season. None of those have been starting roles. In fact, he has had just 68 minutes of action.

Donny van de Beek

Fortunately for the Netherlands international, game time has been more regular in the Champions League. He has featured in four of the club’s six games so far. He also played the entirety of the League Cup third-round meeting with West Ham, but got just 18 minutes in the FA Cup third-round match against Aston Villa.

Talks are now reportedly ongoing between Man United and Palace, with Van de Beek keen on a move. Eagles boss Patrick Vieira has been clear in recent weeks that he wants to strengthen his squad this month. But where would the midfielder fit within his squad?

Where would Donny Van de Beek play at Palace?

After tinkering things slightly early on in the campaign, Vieira looks to have settled on a 4-3-3 formation. And in that midfield three, it has become evident that Conor Gallagher is the mainstay. The on-loan Chelsea youngster has been hugely impressive this season.

He boasts seven goals and three assists in his 19 league matches. The manager will certainly want to bring Gallagher in permanently come the end of the campaign.

But Vieira still wants another midfielder. He has utilised a handful of different players in the other two central midfield slots over the course of the season. Will Hughes and Jeffrey Schlupp have been the players he has turned to most frequently in recent times.

But even they have come in for the injured James McArthur and Cheikhou Kouyate. The former hasn’t featured since November due to a hamstring injury. But the Scot will most certainly come back into the starting XI upon his return.

As for the former, he has returned to midfield after a lengthy period in central defence. But he is currently on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Senegal. Kouyate is another who will look to regain his place soon. But the potential arrival of Van de Beek would certainly change things.

Much-needed stability under Vieira

Even when given the chance at Man Utd, Van de Beek has been played in various roles. That includes central, attacking and defensive midfield. That is despite playing just 14 games in all competitions this season.

A regular spot in the middle of a three-man midfield may just be exactly what he needs. Gallagher would continue his starring role on the right, with McArthur hopeful of returning soon on the left.

There is of course an added bonus for Van de Beek and indeed his parent club should he join the Eagles. That involves learning from one of the game’s greatest ever midfielders in Vieira.

About the author

Peter Lynch

Sports Journalism graduate from the University of Stirling, huge Liverpool and Northern Ireland fan, currently working as a freelancer.