Erik ten Hag was asked ahead of Ajax’s weekend game if there were any clauses in his deal to leave the Dutch club which prevented him from signing any of their players.

Ten Hag was pretty clear, stating: “No, there are no agreements about that,” quoted via The Mirror. This means no players are off limits, and existing links to Antony and Jurrien Timber are expected to continue.

One player who should be on Ten Hag’s wishlist, is Ajax’s Mexican midfielder Edson Alvarez.

Alvarez stepped up at a crucial moment in Sunday’s game to score a goal which puts Ajax in a position where a win versus Heerenveen on Wednesday night would seal the Eredivisie title.

SL Benfica v AFC Ajax: Round Of Sixteen Leg One - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Edson Alvarez could be a smart signing for United

Ajax signed Edson Alvarez from Mexican side Club America in 2019 for £13.5 million. He is the fifth most expensive player signed by Erik ten Hag.

After developing mainly as a centre-back in Mexico, Ten Hag began playing him as a holding midfielder, and Alvarez has thrived in this role.

Alvarez plays a crucial role in shielding the defence, operating in the defensive midfield role where Manchester United are crying out for a younger upgrade on Nemanja Matic, who is set to leave this summer.

This past weekend, Alvarez scored the 86th minute equaliser to seal a 2-2 draw away at AZ. It was a big moment for the club, with the midfielder displaying the sort of character Ten Hag will appreciate, a leader stepping up when his team needed it most.

Alvarez completed 88 per cent of his passes, won four aerial duels, and won five tackles, also making eight ball recoveries.

Still only 24-years-old, Alvarez is a player who has been developed into Ten Hag’s system, and who needs a new challenge. A move to anchor Manchester United’s midfield could be perfect for him.

AZ Alkmaar v Ajax - Dutch Eredivisie
Photo by Marcel ter Bals/Orange Pictures/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Even if United were to sign a midfielder who may be ‘better’, there is no guarantee how they would work or fit to Ten Hag’s instructions. With Alvarez, United would be buying a sure thing, who could be an astute signing.

Alvarez also has the character to adapt. After a tricky start with Ajax, Alvarez said he was fuelled by his doubters, telling the club website: “Such reactions fuel me. They keep you working hard. Knowing that he (Ten Hag) wants to keep me is important to me.”

This season Alvarez has played 39 games in all competitions for Ajax, scoring three times.

Total Football Analysis highlighted Alvarez’s positioning and communication skills with his teammates as key attributes to his game, helping Ajax both on and off the ball.

Ten Hag has insisted on ‘control’ of United transfers, and while he can’t sign the entire Ajax team, it would not be a surprise to see him make a beeline to bring Alvarez to Old Trafford.

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