Ferdinand reacts to van de Beek signing
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has given his expert view on the Reds’ new signing, Donny van de Beek.
Rio, of course, now works as a pundit for BT Sport during their Champions League coverage and watched on as van de Beek helped inspire Ajax to the semi-finals of the competition in 2018/19.
And it’s fair to say our vocal ex-defender is excited about seeing Donny play at Old Trafford when our season kicks off on 19 September.
“What does he bring to the team, to this squad?” mused Rio in a video posted to his YouTube account.
“He brings goals, he brings assists, he runs into the box, [he has] a good work ethic and an unbelievable brain. [As an] Ajax guy, he knows how to play good football.
“Edwin van der Sar, my old mate – did you see it, by the way, on social media? He put crying faces when I said van de Beek on his way into Man United – he wasn’t happy.
“He knows what he’s letting go, he knows his quality, he knows his class.”
The 23-year-old has notched 40 goals and 29 assists in his last three seasons in the Netherlands.
As Ferdinand highlights, that’s a record that stands up to almost any Premier League midfielder.
“Imagine van de Beek alongside the likes of Bruno Fernandes, being fed. I’ve got a little stat for you here. I’ve been doing a bit of research, because that’s what I do,” Rio continued.
“In the last three seasons, if you put him up against any of the midfielders in the Premier League, in terms of goal involvements, where do you think he ranks?
“At a guess I said seventh or eighth. He’s second, only to Kevin de Bruyne.
“That’s unbelievable, to be fair, and [de Bruyne]’s one of the best in the world. So he’s sitting in good company.”
While some may question the merits of comparing performances in different leagues, van de Beek has a proven track record at the highest level.
Ferdinand still has fond memories of the Dutchman's role in the Ajax team that almost went all the way in the Champions League 16 months ago, before a heartbreaking last-ditch defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the last four.
Rio conceded that it may take time for our new man to gel with his team-mates, but also suggested that his numerous qualities should shine through in the end.
“Will it happen immediately? Time will tell. What you do know is United are getting a good player. A solid, all-round player, who understands the game.
Watch van de Beek's first interview as a Red!
Donny is officially a Manchester United player and he can't wait to get started! Check out his first interview...
“And by the way, when I watched him the year before last on that great Champions League run Ajax had, the intelligence, getting in between the lines, running late into the box, and when getting in there –BANG! – [his] finishing [was] cold.
“If he’s playing in a team where he’s getting chances created, as it looks like it seems to be at Man United now, he could be the right player to be bringing in.
“Ole, I’m with you on this one. Good work!”