The modern transfer game has seen players being scouted for months, if not years, on end prior to to being acquired by a club. While a similar process must have been behind Manchester United’s latest signing of Donny van de Beek, a different dimension was also at play.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær had a memorable encounter with the Dutchman when he was incharge of Molde.
The Norwegian gaffer recounts an intriguing incident to BBC’s Football Daily.
This was from 2015 when Ajax faced off against Molde in the Europa League. The fixture ended 1-1 with van de Beek on the scoresheet.
Solskjær narrated the incident by stating: “He actually headbutted my centre-back at the time as well, so he was brave! I’ve liked his infectious attitude. I’ve spoken to Edwin van der Sar, other players that know him, you just use the people you know and trust to scout that character.”
The Manchester United boss then goes on to pinpoint the specific moment that branded the starlet on to his memory: “When someone scores against you, you’ll always remember it…I just remember a cross and he beats my centre-back and it loops over our keeper in the beginning of the game.”
In the same interview, the player-turned-manager also cemented the fact that van de Beek was a good fit for the club’s mentality and culture.
Solskjær also highlighted his expectations of the 23-year-old as he added: “He’s a versatile player, a very intelligent player, he’s got loads of energy, enthusiasm, developing all the time. He scores goals and we need to add those from midfield. We need goals throughout the squad because we didn’t score enough [last season] to be challenging at the top.”
How much will van de Beek improve United’s midfield and will goals like the one Molde experience fall those years ago become a regular sight at Old Trafford?