Following last Sunday’s 5-0 hammering at the hands of Liverpool, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was always going to have to make changes to his starting line-up.
Failure to do so would have increased the pressure gauge by a further notch, doing so before a ball had even been kicked in the clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
A number of United fans hoped that the debacle against Liverpool would have finally, after months of waiting, opened the door for Van de Beek to be presented with a chance and prove to Solskjaer what he had been missing.
When the team news dropped at 4:30pm, United’s supporters, both inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the very first time and those watching at home, saw their wishes quashed again.
Yet again, the former Ajax man who has played just six minutes worth of football in the Premier League this season was overlooked, forced to take up a watching brief from the substitutes bench, with Scott McTominay and Fred, perhaps surprisingly, retaining their places, as Solskjaer adjusted United’s formation.
At that point, Van de Beek must have been wondering just what he has to do to get so much as a sniff of a chance to prove his worth. If a 5-0 demolition in your own back yard at the hands of your biggest rivals does not open the door for an opportunity, what will?
However, it was during United’s warm-up ahead of kick-off at Tottenhamwhen Van de Beek’s United career was summed up in a short video clip that was shared by a Reds supporter online from the away end.
As he has so often had to do throughout his career at the club, Van de Beek was warming-up with the substitutes, before being shouted across to tee the balls up for United’s starters to have some practice shots at goal. Van de Beek, a £40million signing, was stood there carrying out a role that a member of Solskjaer’s coaching staff ought to have been doing.
But when you remember that the 24-year-old, who scored 10 goals and grabbed 11 assists in his final season at Ajax, has played just three times this season in all competitions, it does hit home. By this stage you cannot help but feel sorry for the midfielder. He must now be thinking that a chance will never come his way.
Moving forward with that likely train of thought, United’s top priority in the upcoming January transfer window surely has to be to move Van de Beek on — both for their benefit and his. A player of his quality deserves more and it is almost certain that every United supporter feels that way.
Considering he has barely played in the last 12 months, United will, almost certainly, have to stomach a financial loss if he was to leave. But what is the point of continuing to pay out thousands of pounds every week in wages to a player who seemingly has no future at the club?
The only hope Van de Beek would seemingly have of saving his Old Trafford career is if United were to make a change in manager.
But if the club builds on the win over Spurs and embarks on an upturn in form, while continuing to show loyalty to Solskjaer, that looks unlikely too.
United will want to strengthen in other areas of their squad further down the line, meaning they will need welcomed revenue from somewhere. Offloading Van de Beek can assist with that and help a dejected individual get his career back on track.