Donny van de Beek has been told “plenty of other clubs” would be happy to snap him up if he fails to make a breakthrough at Manchester United, with former Red Devils coach Frans Hoek confident that his fellow Dutchman will come good in time.
Eyebrows were raised when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dipped into the summer transfer market of 2020 for another creative midfielder.
With Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Juan Mata already on the books at Old Trafford, many considered United to be in greater need of adding in other areas.
The Red Devils made the most of an unexpected opportunity, though, with Van de Beek snapped up in an effort to prevent him from heading to a domestic or continental rival.
The 23-year-old has found the going tough in England, making just 10 Premier League appearances and missing out entirely in United’s last five top-flight fixtures.
Questions are already being asked of his future at Old Trafford, but Hoek believes it is too early to pass judgement on a talented performer still finding his feet in new surroundings.
The former Red Devils coach, who worked under Louis van Gaal in Manchester, told Voetbal International of Van de Beek: “It is a big transition, from the Eredivisie to the Premier League.
“Not only the speed of action but also physically. It is Ajax-Feyenoord in England every week, where you also have to win every match at United. But it is not as easy there as in some matches in the Netherlands.
“I think that we can only actually assess Van de Beek when we are one year later.”
Hoek added, with Van de Beek experiencing similar struggles to those that Netherlands team-mate Memphis Depay once endured at Old Trafford: “Perhaps this is the run-up to a fantastic career for Van de Beek in Manchester.
“If not, there will be plenty of other clubs for him. For now I would say: wait and see.”
United’s form, which has seen them hit top spot in the Premier League table, is making it difficult for Van de Beek to force his way into Solskjaer’s plans.
Hoek, though, is not convinced that the Red Devils have turned a corner and expects them to slip down the standings once others rediscover the consistency that has briefly deserted them.
He added: “Of course I follow them, but I don't think they play impressively.
“The fact that they are now at the top is also due to the fact that the rest of the teams do not reach their usual level.
“I think Manchester City will stand out. That is also a big difference with United: City have a clear way of playing. Liverpool have that too, although they have some problems now. But at United, the way of playing is much less clear to see.”