Manchester United have confirmed the signing of former Ajax midfielder and Netherlands international Donny van de Beek on a five-year contract with the option of a sixth year to be added. The 23-year-old was a player with a lot of interest applied to him with Tottenham Hotspur making a move for him in the eleventh hour of his deal to move to United being completed. The midfielder came through the ranks of the Ajax academy, making his senior debut five years ago and rising in stature.
Over the course of five seasons playing for Ajax (2015/16 to 2019/20), the midfielder made a total of 175 appearances for his club, scoring 41 goals and 34 assists. At youth level, Van de Beek made 77 appearances, scoring 25 goals and 21 assists. During the 2018/19 season, the midfielder played a key role in Ajax’s UEFA Champions League pursuit which saw them reach the semi-final of the competition. He has also played against United in the UEFA Europa League final in 2017 in which United lifted the trophy for the first time, winning 2-0. Speaking to the official Manchester United website, United new signing stated:
“I cannot begin to explain how incredible an opportunity it is to join a club with such an amazing history.
“I would like to thank everyone at Ajax. I grew up there and I will always have a special bond with the club.
“I am now ready to take the next step in my career and perform at the highest level and there is no higher standard than Manchester United.
“Everyone has told me how amazing the Old Trafford atmosphere is and I am looking forward to experiencing that, once it is safe for the fans to return.
“This team has some of the best midfielders in the world and I know that I can learn from them and also bring my own strengths to the group.
“Having spoken to the manager about his vision for this team, the direction that the club is going in is hugely exciting and I cannot wait to be a part of that.”
The Dutch midfielder, 23, is a full international for the Netherlands and is currently training for his country ahead of their UEFA Nations League matches against Poland (Friday 4 September) and Italy (Monday 7 September). Van de Beek had bee capped 10 times for his country. During his time at Ajax, he won one Eredivisie title (2018/19), one KNVB Cup (2018/19) and one Johan Cruyff Shield (2019). He was also named Ajax Talent of the Future during the 2014/15 season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be pleased with his first signing of the summer, with lots of work to do before the new season starts for the club in a few weeks with a home match in the Premier League against Crystal Palace on Saturday 19 September 2020, kicking off at 17:30 BST. Hopefully, Van de Beek will be the first of a few decent signings for United this summer with a central defender, a right-winger and a striker wanted by the manager. Solskjaer spoke to the official Manchester United website about Van de Beek’s signing, saying:
“Donny has all of the technical attributes needed to perform in this team and has the personality required to succeed at Manchester United.
“His ability to see space, time his movements and read the game will really complement the qualities that we have in midfield and his arrival really strengthens the depth of talent we have in that position.
“Donny’s performances in the Eredivisie and in Europe have been excellent over the last few years and we are all looking forward to working with him.”
Written by John Walker