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Donny van de Beek's time at Old Trafford hasn't quite gone to plan so far for the former Ajax man.

After signing for £40million in the summer, the 23-year-old will have expected to play an integral part in Man Utd's season.

Sadly for him, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has instead opted to use him more sparingly as the Dutchman gets to grips with life in English football.

Van de Beek arrived with plenty of potential, but United could arguably have done with a player who would slot seamlessly into their side as they go in search of honours.

And talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino believes Solskjaer missed the boat on a real gem of a signing two years ago who could have done just that.

Donny van de Beek is still trying to break into United's first XI
(Image: Pool via REUTERS)

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"Take [Youri] Tielemans, who was on loan at Leicester, he played really well for them when he was on loan," Cascarino said.

"And you look at a club like Man United who have ended up going and buying Van de Beek, taking him from Ajax.

"Yet Tielemans was available, Leicester got that deal, signed him up permanently, and that was a big coup because he's a really good player.

"Alongside [Wilfred] Ndidi, the pair of them have a bit of everything. You do wonder why no one stole Tielemans off of Leicester.

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"They knew the fee, they knew the player, they watched him play in the Premier League, yet Leicester got that deal tied up and got him into their football club on a permanent basis."

In fairness to United, they were preoccupied at the time with landing a new centre-back, in the form of £85million captain Harry Maguire, as well as full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka for £50million.

They were also chasing Bruno Fernandes to bolster their midfield options, eventually landing him at the second time of asking.

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Van de Beek's signing was met with some questioning when United completed the deal in the summer, given there were other areas in Solskjaer's squad which looked in greater need of investment, while the midfield was well stocked.

But Solskjaer is adamant his new acquisition will come good, and insists his handling of van de Beek is all part of a long-term strategy to unlock his potential.

Would Tielemans have been a better signing than van de Beek? Have your say below.

United passed up the chance to sign Youri Tielemans when he moved to Leicester
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

"There are so many examples of players needing a little bit of time, quality players," Solskjaer said.

"We have many examples ourselves and there are other clubs with examples. Sometimes it takes time.

"You don't expect people who care for him to be quiet at times, especially when they want the best for them.

“I’ve spoken to him and reiterated and made him aware of how much we rate him.”