Manchester United’s capture of Donny van de Beek “came out of the blue”, says Wes Brown, but the Dutch midfielder is considered to be an “excellent” addition to a squad generating plenty of excitement ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has snapped up another creative playmaker in a £35 million ($46m) deal with Ajax.
Other targets had appeared to be figuring more prominently on the recruitment radar at Old Trafford – such as Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho – but a notable capture has been completed.
Van de Beek is being backed to slot seamlessly into the fold at United, with Brown confident that a side that surged to a top-four finish in 2019-20 can burst out of the blocks in the new campaign.
The former Red Devils defender told the club’s official website: “I’m really excited. It’s a new start for us.
“We’ve brought in Donny, which is excellent, out of the blue as well. He’s a good age and it looks like he’ll fit in well with what Ole is trying to do with the players we already have. Hopefully, we'll get a couple more players in too.”
Brown added on the momentum that United established over the second half of last season: “After lockdown, we came back excellently, we were very strong in most departments. There were a lot of games to jam in and people got tired but the lads did well.
“I want us to have a good start, the lads have had a little bit of a rest, but we have to start strongly and throw down benchmarks early on.”
United wrapped up a third-place finish in the Premier League under Solskjaer’s guidance, but did come unstuck at the semi-final stage of Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Europa League competition.
And Brown believes those setbacks will serve as added incentive to go even better in the upcoming campaign.
A man who collected 11 major honours during his time at Old Trafford – including five Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns – said: “The end of the season was disappointing, in the fact that we got to two semis and didn’t get through, but I still think we’re moving forward. And the experiences from those two semis will help the players this season.
“Those defeats gave you a bit of a boost because, when you come to play those teams again and you’re walking out for the warm-up, you remember that maybe you got beat 2-0 the season before and how much they celebrated and that gives you a little bit more determination.
“The lads will remember those defeats and they’ll be trying to make it right this season.”