A former Ajax star of huge repute, Donny van de Beek lit up Europe with his tremendous talent while at the Dutch giants and after a frustrating time in England with Manchester United and Everton, the 26-year-old is ready to shine again in the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt. bundesliga.com offers the low-down on the senior Netherlands international.
*Data correct as of 1 January 2024
Donny van de Beek
Age: 26 (born 18 April 1997)
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt (on loan from Manchester United)
Country: Netherlands (19 caps, three goals)
A native of the Dutch village of Nijkerkerveen, van de Beek joined the Ajax youth academy in 2014. So impressive was his progression in the junior ranks of the Dutch giants that the six-footer was offered a contract extension four years after joining, which he duly signed. A debut for Jong Ajax soon followed and before long, the midfielder won the admiration of Dutch legend and former Ajax head coach Frank de Boer.
In the space of a week in November 2015, van de Beek made his senior bow for the four-time European champions in continental competition (a 2-1 victory against Celtic) and collected his maiden appearance in the Dutch Eredivisie. He grabbed his opportunity to shine with both talented feet and was soon gaining the attention of some of Europe's elite teams.
Part of the Ajax set-up that went all the way to the Europa League final of 2017 - where the Dutch side were beaten by Manchester United - van de Beek went on to play an integral role in the heart of team that went all the way to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018–19. A scorer of a goal in the semi-final first-leg win against Tottenham Hotspur, the ex-Netherlands youth international suffered last-gasp heartache when Ajax's opponents won the return fixture in dramatic fashion in Amsterdam.
That disappointment was tempered when the midfielder helped the Dutch giants win their first top-flight title in five years as part of a league and KNVB Cup double.
Having scored 41 goals and provided 34 assists in 175 senior appearances for Ajax, a switch to Manchester followed in the summer of 2020. Despite making 33 appearances in all competitions in his first season at United, the versatile Dutch player failed to fully gel in the team and during the following campaign, was loaned to Everton, with injury limiting his top-flight appearances to just seven.
A consistent presence in Holland's youth teams over the years, Van de Beek was part of the Under-17 side that went all the way to the final of the 2014 European Championship, where the Dutch lost out to England. He made his senior bow against Romania in 2017 and has since collected 19 caps with the Netherlands, scoring three times. He missed out on his nation's participation at EURO 2020 through injury.
Eager to take his chance with new side Eintracht, Van de Beek's move to Mainhattan offers the highly-versatile player a superb opportunity to revive his career, with the one-time Ajax Talent of the Future Award winner all set to hit the ground running in the Bundesliga under coach Dino Toppmöller.
Plays a bit like: İlkay Gündoğan
The current Germany captain and former Borussia Dortmund double-winner shares many playing traits with Eintracht's new loan signing. Both players offer plenty of midfield versatilty while their duel-winning ability and deep-lying capabilities are wholly apparent. It's further forward where both the former treble winner with Manchester City and current Barcelona favourite and Van de Beek really shine, however, with the pair offering a superb range of passing, in-game reading and sublime footwork that can light up any encounter.
Did you know?
Van de Beek was an unused substitute when Man United missed out on Europa League glory in 2021, the English side going down on penalties in the final against Villarreal in Poland. He was also a runner-up in the inaugural UEFA Nations League final in 2019, when the Netherlands lost out to Portugal.
What they're saying
"Dennis started talking enthusiastically about a talent in his youth team. It was a boy who reminded Dennis of himself at that age. That was the signal for me to keep an eye on that guy. That was Donny." - In quotes appearing on Sky Sports, former Ajax coach Frank de Boer recounts a story told to him by Dennis Bergkamp, when the Dutch legend was in charge at the club's youth set-up.
"Donny's performances in the Eredivisie and in Europe have been excellent over the last few years. His ability to see space, time his movements and read the game [are also exceptional]." - Ex-Manchester United player and coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær comments on Van de Beek's talents at the time of the player's arrival in England.
“Donny van de Beek fits our playing philosophy perfectly and is an important piece of the puzzle for our squad,” - Eintracht board member for sport Markus Krösche on the Eagles' new addition to their squad.
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