Manchester United have agreed a fee of €40 million plus add ons for Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek. A medical and player meeting is scheduled to take place this week with a full announcement expected at the weekend.
The 23-year-old will complete his medical while with the Netherlands squad before traveling to the UK following the Nations League games against Poland (September 4) and Italy (September 7).
Van de Beek has spent his career thus far with Ajax, joining their youth academy in August 2014. He rose through the ranks and also featured for Jong Ajax – the club’s reserve team – before making his first-team debut in November 2015 during a Europa League encounter with Celtic.
He became a first-team regular the following season while still a teenager with rumors of potential moves to Tottenham, Roma, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich early in his senior career.
Van de Beek truly burst onto the European scene as part of the electrifying Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. He was one of their standout young stars alongside Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong – now at Juventus and Barca respectively.
He scored three goals on Ajax’s incredible run to the last four, including the only goal of the game against Tottenham in the first leg of their semi-final tie. He scored a further nine in the Eredivisie as Ajax won their first league title in five years with 10 assists.
With incredible versatility, Van de Beek can operate in a central or attacking role and has been described as the classic box-to-box midfielder.
The 23-year-old has the ability to play anywhere across the middle – a trait that will only increase his value – and as well as being that vital link between defence and attack, he is more offensively minded than other central midfield players. He has developed that special talent of making late runs into the area to latch onto forward passes, catching out even the most astute of defenders.
But he is also not afraid of sitting deep and doing the hard work when he needs to. According to WhoScored.com, Van de Beek makes an average of two tackles per game in the Eredivisie – the fourth highest in the Ajax squad – and can help out in a more defensive role when needed.
Even fellow countryman and former Ajax assistant manager Dennis Bergkamp had him pegged as a special talent at a young age. In quotes carried by the Daily Mail, Frank de Boer, who Bergkamp worked under at the club, recalled: “Dennis started talking enthusiastically about a talent in his youth team. It was a boy who reminded Dennis of himself at that age. That was the signal for me to keep an eye on that guy. That was Donny.”
With huge praise and bags of potential, the young midfielder will arrive in England with a big reputation. With Real Madrid and Barcelona also scouting the highly-rated prospect the signing proves vital for Manchester United to be able to compete in next year’s Champions League and Premier League campaigns.