Ajax are ready to sanction the sale of midfielder Donny van de Beek, who The Times claimed earlier this month is subject of £36 million interest from Manchester United.
Speaking to Het Parool, Ajax manager Erik ten Hag says he expects the transfer market to pick up in a few weeks time.
He said: “The transfer market will start in August – the top leagues are now being played out, so the money flows are maintained. The market value of players will be slightly decreased, but not much. Based on their performance and ambition, a number of our players also want to make the move abroad.
“Agreements have been made with Andre Onana, Donny van de Beek and Nicolas Tagliafico, but it remains to be seen whether the market is indeed breaking loose.”
Van de Beek is an intriguing option for United, and one who has become even more tempting in the past few days.
United’s back-up stars need improving
With Bruno Fernandes being asked to play 300 minutes in eight days, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has showed he feels United do not have a credible alternative to the attacking midfielder.
Both Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard got chances to start alongside Fernandes on Saturday, and fluffed their auditions.
Even with six substitutes used, Andreas Pereira was not called upon, and has played just 13 minutes since the restart.
The case to sign Van de Beek has rarely been stronger. The Dutchman could slot straight in for Fernandes when United rotate, and offer a similar combination of hard work, tenacity and goal threat.
The 23-year-old struck 14 goals this past season, and has 40 across the last three campaigns.
With Mata, Lingard and Pereira seemingly not up to scratch, the ace in United’s back pocket has been that young prospect Angel Gomes could breakthrough and overtake all of them.
This chance has now passed United and Gomes by. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was quoted at his press conference by Sky saying he expects Gomes to leave when his contract expires later today.
This takes some depth away from United’s ranks, and provides extra incentive for the club to go into the transfer market and spend money on a true quality back-up for Fernandes.
There will be alternative options. Jack Grealish is one, yet he will be more expensive and Aston Villa more resistant to selling.
Van de Beek is a player of proven quality with a goal in the Champions League semi-finals, and Ajax are saying they will not stand in his way if they get the right offer.
United have to balance this up against other needs, yet it certainly seems that the need to sign Van de Beek has substantially increased.
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