Donny van de Beek has agreed personal terms with Manchester United and will complete a medical in the coming days ahead of a £40m move from Ajax.
The deal, which is thought to be in the region of €39m, plus another €5m in add-ons, is expected to be completed in the next few days while the player is on international duty with the Netherlands.
The 23-year-old will complete his medical while with the Netherlands squad before travelling to the UK following the Nations League games against Poland (September 4) and Italy (September 7).
United have scouted Van de Beek extensively, with the player left out of Ajax’s squad for the Dutch champions’ friendly with Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday amid rumours of an imminent move away.
Van de Beek helped Ajax reach the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals, scoring four goals along the way and 40 in all competitions over the last three seasons.In May, Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar confirmed the midfielder will be allowed to leave, but only for a suitable fee.
Van de Beek was close to joining Real Madrid prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but he did not complete a medical or sign an agreement with the club.
The Transfer Show also reported on Monday there was a preference for any deal involving him to be completed before Ajax kick off their new season in the Dutch Eredivisie against Sparta Rotterdam on September 13.
Donny van de Beek is a man in demand, but why has he garnered so much attention?
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.”
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich believes the deal would be a “fantastic move” for both the player and the club, and says United need to continue to increase the depth of their squad.
“Those that watched the player during his time in Holland have seen the progress that he’s made. I think the way Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) wants to move forward, it’ll work really, really well,” Bosnich said.
“I think he’ll play more often than not.”You can tell that Ole is trying to build a squad that will be sufficient for them to challenge on several fronts, not just for one particular competition.
“He knows from his own experience from being at the club when they won the treble, they had four strikers – himself, Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. It’s very important to make sure you have back-up in each position.”