Man Utd confirm Donny van de Beek transfer in £40m move from Ajax

Donny van de Beek has become Manchester United's first signing of the summer in a £40million transfer from Ajax.

Van de Beek, 23, joins Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side on a five-year deal with the option of an extra 12 months.

The Old Trafford side won the race to sign the Dutch midfielder after Premier League rivals Tottenham failed with an 11th-hour bid.

Van de Beek, who starred in Ajax's thrilling run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019, was also wanted by Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

But he was swayed by a charm offensive from Solskjaer, having told friends in Amsterdam that the manager's determination to sign him was the key factor in his decision.

He said: "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.”

Van de Beek was impressed with the vision Solskjaer described to him about the direction United are going in after finishing third last season to seal a return to the Champions League.

Solskjaer added: "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.”

Van de Beek refused to play in Ajax's friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday after learning that United were preparing to firm up their interest with an official bid.

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And the Red Devils' chief negotiator Matt Judge moved in to seal an agreement after being alerted to Spurs' attempt to hijack the Red Devils' move.

Van de Beek had seemed bound for Real Madrid earlier this summer after the Spanish champions agreed a £44.6m fee with Ajax.

But the deal collapsed when the coronavirus crisis struck.

New Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman indicated that he wanted to take the midfielder to the Nou Camp – but the Catalan club are in turmoil following Lionel Messi's bombshell announcement that he wants to leave.

Van de Beek believes his style will be more suited to English football.

United used their close links with former keeper Edwin van der Sar, who is Ajax's chief executive, to put the wheels in motion late last week.

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They have been monitoring the Nijkerkerveen-born attacking midfielder for over a year.

He was outstanding as Ajax won the Eredivisie and Dutch Cup double in 2019 and were just seconds away from reaching the Champions League final until Lucas Moura struck a dramatic late semi-final winner for Spurs.

Van de Beek was raised as an Ajax fan by his football-mad parents and joined the club's famed youth academy as an 11-year-old.

He made his first-team debut in 2015 and the following season came on as a substitute as the Amsterdam club were beaten by United in the Europa League final.

Van de Beek has scored 41 goals in 175 appearances for Ajax and has been capped 10 times by Holland.

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