Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has opened up on the scouting process that eventually brought Donny van de Beek to Manchester United, admitting he has held a long-standing admiration for the player.
United completed a £35million transfer, plus add-ons, for the midfielder who impressed Solskjaer back in 2015 when playing for Ajax against Molde. He began training with his United teammates at Carrington on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old adds to United’s midfield options, with Solskjaer of the belief that Van de Beek’s “timing and creativity” are among his greatest attributes.
“He is a versatile, intelligent player, has loads of energy and enthusiasm,” Solskjaer told BBC 5 live on the Dutchman.
“He is developing all the time, he scores goals. We need to add goals from midfield, our forwards scored quite a few goals last season, Bruno [Fernandes] came in and scored goals but we need goals throughout the squad and the team because we didn’t score enough to be challenging at the top.
“He will add his goals. He will add his creativity, he has a good reading and understanding of the game, he can see space and arrives at the right time. His timing is fantastic.”
Solskjaer then revealed how long he had been personally tracking Van de Beek and confirmed conversations with current Ajax chief and former United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar had taken place.
The Norwegian added: “When you like a player… I followed Donny, he scored his first goal against Molde in the Europa League in 2015. We drew 1-1 at Amsterdam Arena and he scored a fantastic header, he actually headbutted my centre-back so he was very brave as well!
“It was at the start of the game so I have liked his infectious attitude, he has a smile on his face and when you see players with that drive and desire that is one way you need to use your eye.
“But I have spoken to Edwin van der Sar, I have spoken to other players that know him. You just use the people you know and trust to scout the character.”