The Dutchman joined Old Trafford last summer in a £40million deal from Ajax, but is yet to meet expectations having made just four Premier League starts in the 2020-21 campaign – with the midfielder facing an uncertain future.
And former Tottenham star van der Vaart suggested the midfielder may have to seek an exit because he is ‘too good’ to settle for a spot as a substitute.
Donny van de Beek ‘doesn’t fit’ at Manchester United, according to Rafael van der Vaart (R)
The midfielder has made only four starts since his £40m move to Old Trafford last summer
‘He fit perfectly into the Ajax system, but he doesn’t fit at Manchester United,’ he told ESPN, via Goal.
‘If nobody leaves United [this summer], he will be lucky to get in the starting line-up.
‘He is far too good to sit on the bench for two seasons. He needs minutes very quickly. He is still young, but time flies.’
The 24-year-old rose to prominence in the 2018-19 season as part of Ajax’s team that reached the Champions League semi-finals – scoring against Tottenham in the first leg – and had been heavily linked with Real Madrid.
United won the race for his signature, but he has been scarcely used by his boss Solskjaer. He scored just one goal all season, making 15 appearances off the bench.
Donny van de Beek is reportedly set to hold talks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about his role
Van der Vaart, who thrived in the Premier League with Spurs and also featured for Real Madrid, believes van de Beek moved to a big club too quickly – claiming he would have been better suited to a club such as Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
‘A club like Borussia Dortmund would have been a better step for him. Manchester United might be a step too far for him.’
Van de Beek is reportedly set for talks with Solskjaer over his first team role after his frustrating campaign – capped off by failing to be introduced in the Europa League final despite the team struggling to break Villarreal down.
The player – who is currently on international duty with Holland as he prepares for Euro 2020 – admitted he was keen for more game time while speaking in November.
Van der Vaart believes he would have thrived playing with the likes of Jadon Sancho (L) and Erling Haaland (R) at Borussia Dortmund
The Dutchman is currently with the Dutch national team as he prepares for Euro 2020
‘I’m a patient person, but of course you go there to play as much as possible,’ he said. ‘I also think – in the minutes that I have made, in the times that I have come in – I have shown that I can add something to the team.’
Last month he came under fire from Dutch legend Marco van Basten, who slammed his ‘big boy’ attitude and thinking he would succeed at Old Traford.
‘It just shows what a great life they have when they play at Ajax,’ he told ZiggoSport.
‘They all think very quickly that they are a big boy here and can make it in other countries, but in the Netherlands, there is a nice competition.
‘In a team like Ajax you are really helped, especially in the No 10 position. Then you often see that they go abroad and it is a different story.’