Manchester United have emerged as the new favourites to sign Donny van de Beek after Real Madrid backtracked on their proposed £45m deal with Ajax, according to reports via the Daily Mail.
Van de Beek is a product of the Ajax youth system and emerged as one of the most exciting young midfielders in European football after helping his hometown club win a league and cup double last season while he was also instrumental in their march to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
The 23-year-old’s performances caught the attention of several powerful clubs and it looked as though Real Madrid had won the race for his signature with the Daily Mail suggesting van de Beek was all-set for a £45m move to the Bernabeu.
However, the newspaper carries quotes from Valentijn Driessen – chief football correspondent of Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf – that suggests Madrid have now pulled out of the proposed deal.
Driessen says that with a fee and personal terms already agreed, all that remained was for van de Beek to undergo a medical, but the chances of him joining Madrid are now ‘nil’.
Driessen is quoted by the Daily Mail as telling Veronica Inside:
‘I now hear that Real Madrid is backtracking. The chance that he will go to Real Madrid is nil.
‘The transfer fee was fixed. He was allowed to go for €50million. In fact, everything was agreed. It was only about the medical examination.’
With a move to Madrid now seemingly off, the Daily Mail says Manchester United are now in pole position to sign van de Beek and could try to take advantage of the situation by securing a cut-price deal worth around £36m – £9m less than Madrid were set to pay.
Ronald de Boer admitted last week that he would ‘understand’ if van de Beek ends up joining Man Utd and the Ajax coach suggested that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants the Dutchman to replace Paul Pogba.
De Boer is quoted by the Daily Mail as telling FOX Sports:
‘If Real Madrid again decide not to report themselves at Donny, then I can understand it if he decides to go to Manchester United instead.
‘On the one hand, I understand that Real Madrid are hesitating a bit. Another club could think, “hey, an interesting player, maybe we can get him for a little less”. For example Manchester United.’
‘Solskjaer has indicated that he wants to go in a new direction and wants players who are humble, their heart is with the club, a team player.
‘I think he is tired of the [Paul] Pogbas running around. He wants players like Donny van de Beek.’
Solskjaer is expected to be busy in the transfer market this summer as he looks to try and build a squad capable of competing with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title next season.
Van de Beek would certainly be an exciting signing if they could pull it off as the Dutch international would add creativity to the United side having contributed 10 goals and 11 assists in his 37 appearances for Ajax this season.
The youngster is predominantly an attacking midfielder but can also play in a deeper position so he’d compete with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Scott McTominay and Pogba for a place in Solskjaer’s side if he makes a move to Old Trafford this summer.