Manchester United’s signing of Donny van de Beek was widely hailed as an exciting one after the Dutch midfielder completed a £40m move from Ajax in September.
Following his highly impressive performances over the past few seasons, big things were expected of the 23-year-old, and it was believed he would slot straight into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting 11.
So far, however, this has not proved to be the case.
Van de Beek has yet to start a Premier League game for the club, with his only two appearances that haven’t been off the bench both coming in the Carabao Cup.
It is a situation that has frustrated both supporters and the player himself, but ahead of his side’s game against Chelsea this weekend Solskjaer suggested Van de Beek is still taking his time to adapt to life at Old Trafford.
“Donny’s fit enough, but of course it’s competition for places,” said Solskjaer.
“It’s giving him time to settle in and adjust to his new teammates, it’s a new league, he’s an absolutely top footballer and personality, humble and hard-working, but eager to play more.”
Despite his words of support, these comments are a far cry from the ones Solskjaer made in mid-September.
In an interview with BBC Five Live, he claimed Van de Beek could make a similar kind of impact to that of Bruno Fernandes, who took no time at all to establish himself as key member of the team after signing in January.
“When we signed Bruno Fernandes, we knew we needed that kind of player, now we’ve signed Donny and he’s a type of player I felt we needed in the squad,” Solskjaer said.
“He’s the type of person that will fit the culture, fit the team and will improve us next season and for years to come.
“He scores goals and we need to add goals from midfield. Our forwards scored quite a few goals last season, Bruno came in and scored goals but we need goals throughout the squad because we didn’t score enough to be challenging at the top.”
Despite Solskjaer’s call for goals, Van de Beek has so far scored just one this season compared to Fernandes’ four, while Fernandes has also created three assists to Van de Beek’s one.
It seems Solskjaer is still struggling to find a way to fit Van de Beek, Fernandes and Paul Pogba into the same team, with the Dutchman the odd one out so far.
Manchester United are looking to plot their path back to the top.
And you can keep track of their journey by signing up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter!
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have missed out on Jadon Sancho in the summer, but he still made some big moves in the transfer market with Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani all arriving.
But their start to the season has been a mixed bag, with a home defeat to Crystal Palace and a 6-1 thrashing by Spurs at one end of the scale, and a tremendous 2-1 win over PSG in Paris at the other.
The question now is whether they can find the right balance?
From the latest news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox.
Signing up is simple. Put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.
Saturday’s game against Chelsea, then, is a big one.
It could be the game we see Van de Beek finally given a start, and a good performance in such an important match would go some way towards really kick-starting his Red Devils career.
If he is left on the bench again or fails to make an impact, however, questions will surely begin to be asked about why exactly he was ever brought in in the first place.
Over to you, Ole.
*Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip