New Everton boss Frank Lampard was quick to add reinforcements ahead of Monday night’s transfer deadline.
One of the most notable arrivals was Donny van de Beek, who joined the Blues on loan until the end of the summer from Manchester United.
The Dutchman was close to joining Everton last summer but ultimately stayed at Old Trafford and was assured he would be given more minutes on the pitch by then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, he failed to start the Premier League this season, and even struggled for his usual playing time after Ralf Rangnick’s arrival at Old Trafford.
Combined with these club-wide frustrations, the broader consequence of his struggles in England has been that the Dutchman has missed three consecutive call-ups to the Netherlands side.
So he will undoubtedly arrive at Goodison Park with a point to prove between now and the end of the season.
In terms of profile, Van de Beek is a multi-purpose player with the potential to bring more quality to Everton’s play on acquisition.
His most notable traits are his ability to pass, precise control and movement without the ball, all of which were developed and best illustrated during his time with Ajax.
For the Dutch giants, Van de Beek has usually featured either as a number 10 or as a number eight in a 4-3-3 formation and has benefited from being a key element within a team that usually controls the ball and attacks through good team play.
His success with Ajax led to his move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2020, but in a much different environment, he struggled.
The first problem he faced was that Bruno Fernandes was already the number 10 club’s first choice, and within Solskjaer’s favorite formation, 4-2-3-1, there was only one place for one such player. This means that the minutes on the field were few and far between.
The second big problem that culminated in his struggles was that Solskjaer’s United struggled so much to tune in to the expansive playing style and ball control that the Norwegian had ambitions to implement.
They often performed best in the matches they were looking to play in during the break, relying on players who tend to take more risks and have higher output in areas such as ball carriers and dribblers. This style was not necessarily a good fit for Van de Beek.
We don’t know for sure how Lampard intends to play, although based on his time in both derby and Chelsea we can expect to see a more approach centered around high pressure, controlling possession and building through thirds.
Van de Beek’s role within the same field may be to play in a more advanced area of the field, such as the number 10, apply killer passes, string balls and run late into the penalty area, as he often did with Ajax,
Or he might use the Dutchman Lampard in a deeper midfielder role, orchestrating the early stages of Everton’s passing sequence, particularly given the club lacks such a reliable profile to do so at the moment.
Either way, Van de Beek is giving Everton options they never had before, and he could become a truly important player in this new era at Goodison Park.