Donny Van de Beek is the latest name linked with a move to Celtic, and on the surface of it he ticks the boxes in many, many ways.
He’s still only 26, and although he’s had a few difficult years since moving to England his time at Ajax was stellar where he established himself as a Champions League level regular and he looked to have it all in front of him.
Unfortunately, his time in the EPL has been, not to put too fine a point on it, an utter disaster with injuries plaguing him even when he was in the team. He signed for Manchester United for £35 million in 2020, and the world should have been at his feet.
It’s been a nightmare. He’s had a lot of spells out. By my counting, he’s missed over 50 matches through injury. He has had at least four spells out which have lasted longer than a month; in one of them he was out for more than 50 days and last season he spent 178 days out with a knee injury. Alarm bells would ring every time he took a knock.
Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t rule this guy out completely.
Some players are just dreadfully unlucky at certain clubs, and the 178 day injury is one of those knocks that can happen to any player, in any team … but it raises question marks which we couldn’t ignore if we were contemplating making any sort of offer for him.
He is versatile. That’s a plus point. He’s young, that’s another.
That he was exceptional at Ajax and has Champions League experience is clearly a huge deal … and because he’s been at United and is three years into a five year deal they probably know they aren’t getting close to what they paid for him, and that could drop him into our price range.
Without knowing where this story has actually emerged from – it could be his agents pushing his name around – it’s difficult to tell how seriously we should take this, or how seriously the club might be taking it, but his name is out there and so a discussion around it isn’t out of place.
If not for his injury record he’d tick a lot of the boxes … with that record, I rather suspect people at Celtic will be wary and they might want to take a pass on it.