After deciding to swap Arsenal for PSV Eindhoven, Donyell Malen is set to play a major role for Mark van Bommel this season. 

  • By Michael Bell
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Malen joined Ajax’s academy at the age of seven and quickly became one of the club’s most talented forwards, scoring goal after goal at each age level. The Amsterdam club tried hard to tie Malen down to a professional contract but he decided on a move abroad. Manchester United and Liverpool were linked, but Malen supported Arsenal as a kid and decided on a move to London at the age of 16.

The forward’s reputation grew at Arsenal as he instantly impressed in the club’s U19 side, scoring several goals in the UEFA Youth league, Youth Premier League and FA Youth Cup. During the 2016/17 season, Malen was a regular for Arsenal’s U23 side, scoring three goals in eleven appearances, while adding another nine for the U19’s. Last summer, Malen was included in Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Australia and China, making his debut against Sydney FC.

Despite impressing, Malen continued with the reserves at the start of the season, but it seemed an official first team debut was only a matter of time. However, out of the blue in August, PSV announced Malen’s signing to the surprise of the Arsenal fanbase.

Malen explained the decision to Eindhoven’s Dagblad, “It was going well in England, but I still wanted to leave Arsenal because I had the opportunity to sign for PSV. I took that chance.”

Malen made his professional debut with Jong PSV and initially struggled to score in the Eerste Divisie, but after netting twice against Telstar in November he went on a run of eight goals in six games, which led to his debut for PSV’s first team against PEC Zwolle. He ended the season strongly with another five goals for Jong PSV and another three appearances for the first team including a start against ADO Den Haag.

This summer he was officially promoted to the first team and has been a key player for Mark van Bommel during pre-season, with the Netherlands U19 international also starting the Johan Cruijff Schaal against Feyenoord.

Style of Play

Malen started his career as a centre-forward at Ajax but since his move to Arsenal he has been developed into a winger. At Jong PSV he switched between both positions, but with the first team he will start the season on the left.

The 19-year-old has a lot of the same qualities that Memphis Depay had at PSV during his first few seasons in Eindhoven. Quick, direct, plenty of pace and a bullish attitude are just a few of the qualities that Malen possesses. He is also two-footed and an excellent finisher.

What to expect from Malen this season

Malen has been first choice left-winger during pre-season but Hirving Lozano and Steven Bergwijn will start the campaign as the first choice under van Bommel. However, Malen is next in line and should see plenty of action.

The forward has had a huge reputation since his days in the Ajax academy and this is the season where we will find out if he could become the superstar he was touted to be in Amsterdam.

Malen made the correct decision to leave Arsenal and he will be aiming to prove the Gunners that they made a huge mistake in letting him go.

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