Manchester United have officially made their first signing of the summer transfer window. The club announced on Wednesday that the former Ajax midfielder has signed a five-year deal at United, with an option to extend a further year. After United reportedly agreed a deal and personal terms with the player over the weekend, van de Beek completed his medical and necessary paperwork at the start of the week. He joins United for a transfer fee that will rise to £40 million, after bonuses.
United have long needed reinforcements in attacking midfield, and at 23 years old, van de Beek fits just the kind of profile that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has targeted. The Dutch midfielder is already experienced in European competition, having played for Ajax in both the Champions League and Europa League since being promoted from their youth ranks in 2015.
The player, who had previously been linked to Real Madrid and Barcelona, spoke of his excitement at joining the Reds:
“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.”
On that last note, the personal intervention of Solskjaer is said to have been key to securing van de Beek’s signature. The United manager sounded pleased with his latest acquisition:
“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’s arrival likely signals the end of United’s interest in Aston Villa attacking midfielder Jack Grealish, but moves for Jadon Sancho, a center-back, and a striker are still reported to be a priority.