Eintracht Frankfurt have signed Donny van de Beek on loan from Manchester United until the end of the season. How will Die Adler line up with the Dutchman in their ranks?
Van de Beek to Frankfurt looks like the signing of the winter so far. Despite a difficult time in England, Van de Beek remains a player who won the Dutch domestic treble with Ajax in 2019 and has 19 caps for the Netherlands. He is still only 26.
Frankfurt hope to join Van de Beek on an upward trajectory, the 2022 UEFA Europa League winners up to sixth in this season's Bundesliga after winning two of their three games heading into the winter break - including a 5-1 destruction of Bayern Munich.
What does Donny bring to the side and how will he fit in? bundesliga.com takes a closer look…
Frankfurt started with a 4-2-3-1 formation against Bayern, but in 12 of their 16 Bundesliga games to date this season, head coach Dino Toppmöller has lined his side up in a 3-4-2-1 with wing-backs - a system which can suit Van de Beek, and one he rarely saw at Old Trafford.
Van de Beek was part of a midfield triangle in his Ajax pomp, invariably the furthest forward with Frenkie de Jong and Lasse Schöne for company, although his impressive goal-contributions - 38 goals and 30 assists across his last three seasons in Amsterdam - were underpinned by a willingness to track back.
"I think everyone who knows a little bit about football knows that he's an outstanding footballer," Toppmöller said of Van de Beek recently, but he is perhaps unlikely to restore him to his No.10 position of old. The Dutchman had Bruno Fernandes in his way at Man Utd, and has multiple 10s at once to contend with at Frankfurt.
The two attacking midfielders paired behind striker Omar Marmoush have come from a pool including Ansgar Knauff, Farès Chaïbi and Mario Götze of late, and while Van de Beek adds a welcome extra option there, he is likely to be used deeper.
Club captain Sebastian Rode has been restricted to just three appearances across all competitions this season due to a calf injury, and is out of contract at the end of the campaign. With Ellyes Skhiri and Hugo Larsson competing for the place of leggy midfield marauder, it could be left for Van de Beek to pull the strings alongside one of them.
It wasn't so long ago that Van de Beek was held in a similar regard to Ajax teammates De Jong and Matthijs de Ligt - now of Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively, and if Toppmöller can unlock the player of old, be it as a No.8, 10, or anything in between, he could prove to be one of the signings of the winter.
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