Real Madrid keep adding names to their list of potential signings this summer and as their search for a new midfielder continues, there are players linked to Los Blancos every day. In recent hours we learned that there is a certain interest of Madrid in Ajax’s midfielder Donny van de Beek, one of the assets that eliminated them from Champions League last season.
His stellar performances have taken Donny to be one of the most coveted midfielders right now, with Tottenham Hotspurs and Bayern Munich keeping tabs on him as well, but a move to Madrid seems like a very good option for both parties seeing that Madrid gets further away from Paul Pogba as the days go by and van de Beek would be a more than decent alternative for the Frenchman.
However, at only 22, van de Beek is still very young and perhaps a move to a great club like Madrid will be difficult, which is precisely why one of the most promising players in Dutch football failed to be successful in Real Madrid a couple of years ago. Perhaps not many people remember Royston Drenthe, but back in the day, he was one of the most interesting players in European football, making the way from Feyenoord to Madrid when he was 18.
Drenthe had some words of advice for van de Beek and detailed how he should manage himself if he makes it to the White House. He remembered his times at the Santiago Bernabeu, breaking down how the experience was for him.
“It will have an impact on him if he goes to that huge Real,” the 32-year-old told De Telegraaf. “When I arrived there it was already extremely hectic, with three to four thousand people at the airport. A quarter of the stadium was filled at the presentation, for Cristiano Ronaldo the entire stadium.
“At that time boys like (Ruud) Van Nistelrooy, Guti and (Michel) Salgado took care of me and other young boys like (Gonzalo) Higuain.
“But he must still do it alone, although of course there will be people from the club who will help him.”
Drenthe only managed to play in 46 games with Real, before being sold to Everton following very disappointing performances with Los Blancos. Yet, he’s hopeful van de Beek can make a good job in Madrid if Real meet the reported €65 million (£58m/$74m) fee Ajax are looking for the midfielder.
“It’s very nice for Donny,” said Drenthe. “I only know him from TV, from that last beautiful year at Ajax. He’s a very good player. Being able to play football without pressure is the best thing possible, but if the pressure beats you...
“That was also the case for me, 'why didn’t it work for me?' I thought. Not everyone could deal with it. Of course, I don’t know Donny, but it would be nice if he could handle it.
“If he thought how big Ajax was in the Netherlands, he will be almost unable to understand how enormous Real is. He will be the first (Dutchman) to be able to play there after Rafa (Van de Vaart), Wesley (Sneijder), (Klaas-Jan) Huntelaar and me.”
Van De Beek proved he can managed pressure during his times with Ajax, as he scored goals against Juventus in quarter-finals and Tottenham in semis during the last edition of the Champions League. Of course, it’s not the same playing at Ajax that playing at Madrid, but Donny has the quality and he will be surrounded by great players who won’t let him lose the way if he finally arrives in Valdebebas.