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How have Dutch players fared at Manchester United as Donny van de Beek looks set to join

6 min read

Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek looks set to complete a high-profile move to Manchester United this summer, in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first major move of the summer window. 

The 23-year-old midfielder is set to make a £40million move over to England and will form a devastating midfielder partnership with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba

Van de Beek will become the 13th Dutch player to represent United in their history, though the 12 who have come before him have had mixed careers at Old Trafford. 

Sportsmail analyses and ranks all of the Dutch players who have represented the Red Devils… 

Sportsmail looks at Man United's best ever Dutch players ahead of Donny van de Beek's arrival

Sportsmail looks at Man United's best ever Dutch players ahead of Donny van de Beek's arrival

Sportsmail looks at Man United’s best ever Dutch players ahead of Donny van de Beek’s arrival

Arnold Muhren 

Years: 1982-195

Appearances: 98  

Arnold Murhen (right) scored in the FA Cup final with Manchester United back in 1983

Arnold Murhen (right) scored in the FA Cup final with Manchester United back in 1983

Arnold Murhen (right) scored in the FA Cup final with Manchester United back in 1983

Arnold Murhen is probably best known for providing the assist for Marco Van Basten’s epic volley against the Soviet Union in the 1988 European Championships, but the midfielder did have a successful career in England.

A year after winning the UEFA Cup with Ipswich Town in 1981, Muhren joined Manchester United and spent three years at Old Trafford. 

He was part of the Red Devils side that beat Brighton in the 1983 FA Cup Final at Wembley and scored a penalty in the replay. That moment proved to be the high-point of his United career and left after being left out of the matchday squad in the 1985 final win against Everton.

Rank: 5/10

Jordi Cruyff 

Years: 1996-2000

Appearances: 58

Highly-rated attacking midfielder Jordi Cruyff's time at Old Trafford was marred with injuries

Highly-rated attacking midfielder Jordi Cruyff's time at Old Trafford was marred with injuries

Highly-rated attacking midfielder Jordi Cruyff’s time at Old Trafford was marred with injuries 

Manchester United fans were excited when the son of Dutch legend Johan moved to Old Trafford from Barcelona in 1996, but the prodigal son’s time at United was marred with injuries. 

His career in England began brightly but suffered a knee injury in November 1996 which ruined his momentum. He recovered from the setback to play a bit-part feature at the beginning of United’s treble-winning 1998-1999 season, but was sent out on loan to Celta Vigo before the trophies were sealed. 

Rank: 4/10

Raimond Van Der Gouw

Years: 1996-2002 

Appearances: 60

Raimond Van Der Gouw was a reliable second-choice goalkeeper at Manchester United

Raimond Van Der Gouw was a reliable second-choice goalkeeper at Manchester United

Raimond Van Der Gouw was a reliable second-choice goalkeeper at Manchester United

The Dutch goalkeeper was only meant to be brought in as a back-up to Peter Schmeichel, but Van Der Gouw ended up playing a key role in some of Manchester United’s successful teams. 

The shot stopper impressed whilst deputising in the 1997 Champions League semi-final against Borussia Dortmund and the 1998 quarter-final against Juventus, while he was the first-choice option when the Red Devils won the Premier League in 2000.

Van Der Gouw also coached some of United’s younger goalkeepers during his time at the club, so was an important figure in the dressing room too.  

Rank: 6/10

Jaap Stam

Years: 1998-2002

Appearances:  127

Jaap Stam was a frightening option at centre-back for United, winning three top-flight titles

Jaap Stam was a frightening option at centre-back for United, winning three top-flight titles

Jaap Stam was a frightening option at centre-back for United, winning three top-flight titles

Stam became the most expensive Dutch player in history by joining United for £10.6million back in 1998 and he made a major difference to a successful United backline. 

The frightening centre-half was a key component in the 1999 treble-winning side but he also won two more Premier League titles at Old Trafford either side of that achievement. 

He was controversially sold by the club for £16million after a fall-out with Sir Alex Ferguson but Stam is still highly-regarded as one of the best defenders to turn out for United.

Rank: 8/10 

Ruud van Nistelrooy

Years: 2001-2006

Appearances: 219

Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored 20 Premier League goals in four out of his five seasons at United

Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored 20 Premier League goals in four out of his five seasons at United

Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored 20 Premier League goals in four out of his five seasons at United

The Dutch forward’s temperament was just as good as his goalscoring exploits. Van Nistelrooy was a clinical figure in front of goal though, scoring 20 or more Premier League goals in four out of his five seasons in England’s top-flight. 

It is somewhat surprising that the striker only managed to win one Premier League title for Manchester United, though he did manage to add one FA Cup and a League Cup triumph to his collection. 

Rank: 8/10 

Edwin Van Der Sar

Years: 2005-2011

Appearances: 266

Edwin Van Der Sar (right) was the penalty shootout hero in the 2008 Champions League final

Edwin Van Der Sar (right) was the penalty shootout hero in the 2008 Champions League final

Edwin Van Der Sar (right) was the penalty shootout hero in the 2008 Champions League final

Van Der Sar may have only joined United at the age of 34, but the goalkeeper certainly had the best years of his career at Old Trafford.

His crucial penalty save in the 2008 Champions League final shootout win over Chelsea will live long in the memory, as will his record-breaking achievement the following season where he did not concede a goal for 1,311 minutes. 

With 266 United matches to his name, he became the oldest player to win the Premier League at 40 years and 205 days old. 

Rank: 9/10

Robin van Persie

Years: 2012-2015 

Appearances: 105 

No Dutch player has a better goalscoring return at Manchester United than Robin Van Persie

No Dutch player has a better goalscoring return at Manchester United than Robin Van Persie

No Dutch player has a better goalscoring return at Manchester United than Robin Van Persie 

Out of all the Dutch players to have played for Manchester United, no-one has a better goalscoring record than Robin Van Persie. 

In his first season at the club, he won the Golden Boot award as Ferguson’s side reclaimed the title away from noisy neighbours Manchester City. 

But following Ferguson’s retirement, the striker failed to match his 30-goal tally from his debut season – though did manage to end his United career with 58 goals to his name. 

Rank: 7/10 

Alexander Buttner

Years: 2012-2014

Appearances: 2

Left-back Alex Buttner's Manchester United highlight came on his debut against Wigan in 2012

Left-back Alex Buttner's Manchester United highlight came on his debut against Wigan in 2012

Left-back Alex Buttner’s Manchester United highlight came on his debut against Wigan in 2012

Alex Buttner was a promising young player when Sir Alex Ferguson signed him on a five-year contract in 2012. But the left-back only survived two seasons at Old Trafford.

His United career started well, making two assists in his Premier League debut against Wigan Athletic, but Patrice Evra’s presence in the squad meant he only featured 27 more times for the Red Devils. 

Rank: 3/10 

Daley Blind

Years: 2014-2018 

Appearances: 141 

Daley Blind was a reliable option at left-back, centre-back and central midfield for United

Daley Blind was a reliable option at left-back, centre-back and central midfield for United

Daley Blind was a reliable option at left-back, centre-back and central midfield for United

Daley Blind was part of Louis Van Gaal’s ‘Dutch revolution’ in 2014 and was a key part of the United side for two seasons. 

Able to play at left-back, centre-back and central midfield, Blind helped the Red Devils win the FA Cup in 2016, along with the League Cup and Europa League honours in 2017.

Van Gaal’s sacking and Jose Mourinho appointment at Manchester United meant the defender’s game-time became more and more limited, but Blind barely put a foot wrong during his Premier League career.

Rank: 5/10 

Memphis Depay

Years: 2015-2017

Appearances: 53 

Memphis Depay promised to be a big player at Old Trafford in 2015 - but he was a major flop

Memphis Depay promised to be a big player at Old Trafford in 2015 - but he was a major flop

Memphis Depay promised to be a big player at Old Trafford in 2015 – but he was a major flop

Much was expected of striker Memphis Depay when the Dutchman arrived at United in 2015 after some impressive performances under Van Gaal at international level. 

But Depay ended up being a complete flop at Old Trafford, despite his £25million price-tag. The forward scored just seven goals in 53 appearances for United, a total which cost Van Gaal his job while Mourinho barely gave him a chance.

What is more frustrating for United is that Depay is now banging in the goals for French side Lyon, who he captains. 

Rank: 2/10 

Timothy Fosu-Mensah 

Years: 2014-present

Appearances: 27 

Time is running out for Timothy Fosu-Mensah to make his mark at Manchester United

Time is running out for Timothy Fosu-Mensah to make his mark at Manchester United

Time is running out for Timothy Fosu-Mensah to make his mark at Manchester United

Youngster Timothy Fosu-Mensah has been in the United first-team for five years now, but has still struggled to nail down a spot in the squad. 

The defender, who can also play in midfield, has also been loaned out to Crystal Palace and Fulham but has failed to catch the eye. 

The 22-year-old has featured occasionally for Solskjaer over the past year, though time is running out for Fosu-Mensah if he wants to have a future at Old Trafford. 

 Rank: 4/10

Tahith Chong 

Years: 2016-present

Appearances: 16

Midfielder Tahith Chong will spend the 2020-21 season on loan at German side Werder Bremen

Midfielder Tahith Chong will spend the 2020-21 season on loan at German side Werder Bremen

Midfielder Tahith Chong will spend the 2020-21 season on loan at German side Werder Bremen

The Dutch wonderkid is slowly becoming an exciting figure at United, despite being in and around the first-team for two seasons. 

Chong has played 16 first-team games for United but has been sent out on loan to German club Werder Bremen for the 2020-21 season. Time will tell if this ends up being an important career more. 

Rank: 4/10 

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