By George Overhill

15th Feb, 2022 | 9:10pm

Beren Cross shares views on Leeds United reason for turning down Donny van de Beek

It is “hard to accept” that Leeds United turned down the opportunity to sign Donny van de Beek in January says Beren Cross, who has suggested reasons why.

The Dutchman, on loan from Manchester United, was instrumental in the Everton side that blew away the Whites at Goodison Park at the weekend, and that performance has made Marcelo Bielsa’s decision to reject the chance look worse.

LeedsLive journalist Cross believes the manager felt the midfielder’s suitability for the system and fitness would have prevented him making an impact, and thinks the club wanted to prioritise Lewis Bate’s opportunities.

Writing in his LeedsLive Q&A the journalist said: “My assumption would be Bielsa felt they didn’t suit his system, or he did not think they would be fit enough to have a quick impact and hit the ground running at Elland Road.

“There is also the point [Angus] Kinnear made in his programme notes about retaining that pathway to the first team for the under-23s at the club. Perhaps the club did not want to block Lewis Bate’s route to opportunities.

“Based on how he played on Saturday, it’s hard to accept Bielsa said no to van de Beek, assuming the finances worked for the club.”

Missed opportunity

Whichever of these reasons were in the minds of the Elland Road decision-makers, the assessment of it being a tough pill to swallow for fans now is accurate.

Longer-term form may eventually prove the manager right, but for such a glaring depiction of what the former Ajax man can do to occur at the Whites’ direct expense was particularly galling.

There was an element of the unknown to the status of van de Beek due to the mystifying decision of multiple managers at Old Trafford to leave him on the bench.

But he appears to have hit the ground running, and if he has a similar impact on other Everton games as he did in the Toffees’ victory over Leeds it will have to go down as a major missed opportunity.

The fitness issue looks to have been put to bed, and his success in a 4-4-2 suggests an adaptability to his game, while new teammate Anthony Gordon hailed him as “amazing” following the game (via Manchester Evening News).

And considering Bate hasn’t featured at all since he came on as a sub against West Ham a month ago, and was subsequently taken back off again, it does not seem like the club are hugely set on giving him chances.

All together, the situation is a frustrating one for everyone without an input in decisions at United, and after his Goodison impact perhaps for some of those who do as well.

In other Leeds United news, one journalist has claimed this Whites star will be gone by the start of next season.