Manchester United have reached an agreement with Ajax to sign Donny van de Beek for just under £40m. Van de Beek has attracted a lot of attention from several of Europe’s leading clubs after excelling in a brilliant Ajax team over the past recent years.
His Dutch side have won their league consecutively and have also shined in the Champions League. His performances have led him to be linked with some of the best teams, with Barcelona and Real Madrid linked with the 23-year-old in recent months.
Van de Beek has scored 41 goals in 175 appearances for Ajax’s first team having joined the club at academy level and has previously been followed by Tottenham.
This youth product has the Ajax style embedded into his way of playing, so he is able to fit into both the number six and eight positions. He follows in the footsteps of talents such as Clarence Seedorf, Do Boer and Christian Eriksen. One of Van de Beek’s strengths is his ability to pick out direct, forward passes. With wingers hugging the touch line, the opposition tend to spread out more horizontally. This provides clear lanes for his passing ability to be displayed. He can quickly risk assess his passes and interpret the area around him which allows for efficient play.
His running with and without the ball is something to be noticed too. Being a midfielder, his driving runs help create space and diversions for teammates. This also helps with his attacking presence as he can arrive in and around the box to be a goal threat.
Will he be a success?
This signing would be a great coup for the United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who wants to strengthen his midfield options before the new season gets started. Talks over the potential signing of Jadson Sancho from Dortmund have yet to be resolved – he is still their number one transfer target.