Football

Ajax CEO confirms Manchester United's interest in Donny van de Beek

Ajax Amsterdam chief executive Edwin van der Sar has confirmed Manchester United's interest in signing midfielder Donny van de Beek.

"It's clear that clubs like Real Madrid and United are showing interest in Donny van de Beek," van der Sar, who played for the Red Devils between 2005 and 2011, told Dutch outlet NOS.

Real were favourites to land the 23-year-old in this summer's transfer window on a £49-million (S$86.5m) deal, but the Covid-19 pandemic has sparked much financial uncertainty.

United are now looking to hijack the deal, but are willing to offer £36m instead for the box-to-box midfielder, who has contributed 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 games this season.

Van der Sar has previously warned that the coronavirus pandemic will not reduce the value of the Ajax players.

"There won't be a 50 per cent discount, clubs can forget about that," van der Sar told Reuters.

"Of course, the £150m-200m transfers are gone, but there is still a lot of value for players who come from Ajax."

The transfer speculation surrounding van de Beek has generated much excitement for United fans, who are already purring at the prospect of watching Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in action when their English Premier League campaign resumes on June 20 (Singapore time).

The Red Devils visit Tottenham Hotspur, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having the option of playing both creative players together for the first time, following Pogba's return from an ankle injury.

Former United defender Danny Higginbotham said in his column for The Sun that the pair will give opposition sides a huge dilemma, as teams won't know how to cope with Pogba and Fernandes taking turns to create opportunities for strikers.

However, former Arsenal forward Charlie Nicholas said the midfield duo will not enjoy success together at United.

"With Man United, everyone is expecting them to kick on. I don't know how everyone is pairing Pogba and Bruno to say it is going to be perfect at the start," Nicholas told Sky Sports. "I don't think it will be."

Football