Donny van de Beek already feels at home at Manchester United after completing his move from Ajax on Wednesday.

The Netherlands midfielder joined United in a deal that could eventually be worth £39.1million (€44m), signing a five-year contract with the option of a sixth.

Van de Beek had spent his entire career at boyhood club Ajax, but is relishing linking up with his new team-mates at Old Trafford after being given such a warm welcome.

He posted on his Twitter page on Thursday: "Very excited to be the newest edition [sic] of the #MUFC family.

"Your enthusiastic responses to my announcement make me feel at home already! Can't wait to join the team in Manchester. 

"But first... focus on the Dutch Squad in preparation for the upcoming Nations League matches."

Van de Beek's agent, Sjaak Swart, claimed United were among six clubs interested in the 23-year-old, also naming Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Arsenal.

Swart said the coronavirus pandemic impacted the market but told Ajax Showtime: "Manchester United is certainly the right choice.

"They used to be a championship-winning club and they now want to build that way again."

Edwin van der Sar says Donny van de Beek has no better place to flourish than at Manchester United and asked fans to take good care of the midfielder in an emotional open letter.

Netherlands international Van de Beek completed his move from Ajax to Old Trafford on Wednesday in a deal that could eventually reach £39.1million (€44m).

Van de Beek became an influential member of an exciting Ajax side after rising through the youth ranks to break into the first team as a teenager during the 2015-16 campaign.

The 23-year-old won Eredivisie and KNVB Beker medals with Ajax, while he was part of the team that finished runners-up to his new employers in the 2017 Europa League final and the side that reached the Champions League semi-finals in the 2018-19 campaign.

Red Devils legend Van der Sar, now CEO at Ajax, talked up Van de Beek's talents in a classy message to United supporters in the Manchester Evening News.

"Dear Manchester United fans, I hope you're doing well," the former Netherlands goalkeeper wrote.

"It seems our paths have crossed again. One of ours is joining you this season. And like so many players before him, he's been with us since he was just a little boy.

"Shortly after his debut, he became one of our best. Especially the last couple of years were amazing. From the Europa League final (no hard feelings) to our Champions League run and winning the Dutch championship.

"The team he was part of showed the world who we are and what Ajax stand for.

"Like you, we pride ourselves on being one of the best at developing talent and giving young players a shot at the highest level. You could say your new star is the embodiment of that pride.

"That's one of the many reasons we don't like to see him leave, but we understand it's time for him to move on. To dream on.

"And where better to do so than in your theatre. Trust me, I know. Please take good care of Donny, and help him dream.

"Enjoy the future."

Van de Beek adds to a midfield that already boasts the talents of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, and he will hope to make his United debut when their Premier League campaign begins against Crystal Palace on September 19.

Donny van de Beek has chosen to wear the no.34 jersey at Manchester United, a tribute to his friend and former Ajax team-mate Abdelhak Nouri.

Van de Beek completed a transfer from the Dutch giants on Wednesday in a deal that could eventually cost United £39.1million (€44m).

Soon after his move was confirmed, the Red Devils announced Van de Beek's choice of shirt number, as the 23-year-old made a classy gesture.

Nouri, with whom Van de Beek came through the Ajax academy, had worn 34 during his time with the senior side before a tragedy cut short his burgeoning career in 2017.

Then just 20, Nouri collapsed during a pre-season match and suffered a cardiac arrhythmia attack that left him with permanent brain damage and in a coma, from which he only awoke in March after nearly two years and nine months.

Dean Henderson had been the number's custodian, but United confirmed the goalkeeper had let Van de Beek take it.

"This is a special thing for me because my good friend Abdelhak Nouri… maybe you know the story," he said to Man United's official website.

"He had a heart attack and he's a good friend of mine, and I'm really close with his family and his brother is one of my best friends. I talk a lot with them.

"So, I decided to take his old number on my shirt. I want to get good memories with this number."

Van de Beek had appeared destined to join Real Madrid earlier this year, but media reports claim Los Blancos opted to pull out of an agreement with Ajax once the coronavirus pandemic enforced a stop to top-flight European football.

The Netherlands international bolsters United's midfield options and signed a five-year contract, though the club have the option to extend it by a further 12 months.

It is expected he will make his United debut in their opening match of the Premier League season on September 19 at home to Crystal Palace.

Manchester United have completed the signing of Netherlands midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax for a fee that could rise to £39.1million (€44m).

United will pay an initial £34.7m for the 23-year-old, who has penned a five-year contract with the option of a further 12 months to become Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first recruit ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Van de Beek was one of the star performers for Ajax as they embarked upon a memorable run to the semi-finals of the 2018-19 Champions League.

However, he now follows former team-mates Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech in making a big-money move away from the Johan Cruijff ArenA, having sat out Ajax's weekend friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt.

"I cannot begin to explain how incredible an opportunity it is to join a club with such an amazing history," he told United's website.

"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."

Van de Beek played 175 times for Ajax's first team after progressing through the club's feted youth categories, scoring 41 times.

He must now look to establish himself in a talent-stacked United midfield alongside Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.

"Donny has all of the technical attributes needed to perform in this team and has the personality required to succeed at Manchester United," Solskjaer said.

"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."

United start their Premier League campaign at home to Crystal Palace on September 19 – a week later than the majority of their top-flight counterparts, having been involved in the latter stages of the Europa League.

Manchester United have completed the signing of Netherlands midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax for a fee that could rise to £39.1million (€44m).

United will pay an initial £34.7m for the 23-year-old, who has penned a five-year contract with the option of a further 12 months to become Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first recruit ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Van de Beek was one of the star performers for Ajax as they embarked upon a memorable run to the semi-finals of the 2018-19 Champions League.

However, he now follows former team-mates Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech in making a big-money move away from the Johan Cruijff ArenA, having sat out Ajax's weekend friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Manchester United fans have been waiting for a new face to arrive and their patience is set to be rewarded.

Despite reported interest from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Tottenham, Ajax's Donny van de Beek is poised for Old Trafford.

Will there be more arrivals at United?

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TO SIGN VAN DE BEEK

Manchester United have agreed a fee to sign Ajax star Donny van de Beek, according to The Guardian and widespread reports.

Van de Beek has been linked to United, Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Tottenham were also reportedly interested.

But United are set to complete their first serious transfer ahead of the 2020-21 season in a deal reportedly worth £35.7m (€40m) plus add-ons.

 

ROUND-UP

Chelsea are close to signing Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz, reports Sport Bild. Fabrizio Romano, meanwhile, says it is only a matter of time before the Germany international completes a €100m (£89m) switch.

Sandro Tonali will join Milan, claims Romano. The Brescia sensation had been tipped to move to Inter, however, Milan are set to sign Tonali on an initial loan deal.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus want to sell Douglas Costa amid links to United. New head coach Andrea Pirlo wants to overhaul his squad.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport says Barca are considering Lazio striker Ciro Immobile as a replacement for Luis Suarez, who has been linked to Juve. Immobile finished as Serie A's top goalscorer last season.

- According to Super Deporte, Valencia are considering a move for Arsenal outcast Matteo Guendouzi.

Barca are working on reuniting Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum with former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman, says Mundo Deportivo. Koeman will lead Barca after leaving his international post to replace Quique Setien.

- The Mirror claims Liverpool are ready to make an offer for Watford's Ismaila Sarr, who is valued at £40m.

- Antonio Conte has requested Inter sign N'Golo Kante from Chelsea, says Tuttomercatoweb. Inter are reportedly hoping to land the Frenchman initially on loan with the option to buy. It comes as Inter look to raise funds through the sales of players like Roberto Gagliardini, Matias Vecino and Marcelo Brozovic.

- Journalist Fredrik A.N. Filtvedt claims United are interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara. Liverpool have been tipped to sign the Spaniard.

Rafael van der Vaart said Donny van de Beek deserves a transfer to Manchester United as he lauded the Ajax star ahead of his reported switch to Old Trafford.

United are closing in on the signing of Ajax midfielder Van de Beek after reportedly reaching an agreement over a fee with the Eredivisie giants, who left the Dutchman out of Saturday's friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Van de Beek had also been linked to LaLiga duo Barcelona and Real Madrid, but the 23-year-old Netherlands international appears set for the Premier League in a deal that could rise to £40.8million (€45m).

Former Ajax and Netherlands star Van der Vaart, who also played for Tottenham in the Premier League, hailed Van de Beek.

"Donny deserves this transfer so much," Van der Vaart told NOS. "He has played excellent for Ajax.

"And Manchester United really need this kind of player in their team. This transfer is fantastic for us [Dutch people] too.

"We are all going to follow him now. This move is so deserved."

Academy product Van de Beek has spent five seasons in Ajax's first team, accruing close to 200 appearances in all competitions for the Amsterdam outfit.

Van de Beek was one of the star performers for Ajax as they embarked upon a memorable run to the semi-finals of the 2018-19 Champions League.

He scored eight Eredivisie goals and supplied five assists in the coronavirus-hit 2019-20 season, while he managed 10 goals across all competitions.

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag confirmed Donny van de Beek was left out of Saturday's friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt due to "developments" amid links to Manchester United and Barcelona.

Van de Beek played no part in Eredivisie giants Ajax's 2-1 win over Eintracht after United reportedly emerged as favourites to sign the star midfielder.

The 23-year-old Netherlands international has also been linked with LaLiga duo Barca and Real Madrid, as well as Premier League side Tottenham.

Pre-game, Ten Hag told Ziggo Sport: "There are indeed developments that keep him out of the selection.

"We will see what happens. We'll make an announcement as soon as there's some clarity."

Academy product Van de Beek has spent five seasons in Ajax's first team, accruing close to 200 appearances in all competitions for the Amsterdam outfit.

Following Ajax's victory against Bundesliga opponents Eintracht, Ten Hag added: "The fact that Donny did not play does indicate a direction.

"The request not to let him play did not come specifically from one side. We do that together.

"Agreements have been made about a possible transfer, and if that possibility arises, you must also co-operate."

 

A Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi reunion in Manchester?

Barcelona captain Messi has handed in a transfer request and he wants to team up with former boss Guardiola at Manchester City.

But can City and Barca reach a deal?

 

TOP STORY – BARCA WANT MESSI COMPROMISE

Barcelona believe Lionel Messi is set to join Manchester City but the embattled LaLiga giants are eyeing a £250million (€280m) compromise, according to the Mirror.

Messi wants to leave Barca and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked to the likes of City, Inter, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

However, City feel they are on the brink of luring Messi to Manchester and Barca are desperately trying to recoup a fee, with the Argentina superstar hoping to leave on a free transfer.

Meanwhile, widespread reports claim Messi has told Barca he will not be attending pre-season testing on Sunday.

 

ROUND-UP

- ESPN claims Manchester United are favourites to sign Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek. The Dutch star has been linked to Barca and Real Madrid but United are in pole position to land the 23-year-old.

- Thiago Alcantara remains interested in moving to the Premier League but Liverpool are yet to make a bid for the Bayern Munich star, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Goal says Chelsea have made a €20m (£18m) bid for Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy amid doubts over Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Everton are targeting United goalkeeper Sergio Romero, reports the Mirror. The Argentina international – backup to David de Gea – has also been linked to newly promoted Leeds United. It comes as Sky Sport reports Everton have reached a deal to sign Allan from Napoli.

- According to Tuttosport, Barca forward Luis Suarez is pushing for a move to Serie A champions Juve. The Uruguayan has been told he can leave the Spanish club.

- Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali has said yes to a move to Milan, reports La Gazzetta Sportiva. Inter had been favourites to sign Tonali but city rivals Milan appear poised to land the Italy international.

Netherlands interim coach Dwight Lodeweges has handed maiden senior call-ups to promising youngsters Mohamed Ihattaren, Perr Schuurs and Owen Wijndal for their upcoming Nations League fixtures against Poland and Italy.

Lodeweges, who was assistant to Ronald Koeman until his departure to Barcelona earlier this month, had the responsibility of selecting the full squad for the first time.

He has taken the opportunity to introduce fresh faces and recall some familiar ones not seen in the selection for several years, while Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt remains sidelined after knee surgery.

Attacking midfielder Ihattaren impressed in his 22 Eredivisie appearances for PSV in 2019-20 and declared for the Netherlands last year having also been eligible for Morocco.

Ball-playing centre-back Schuurs broke into Ajax's first-team squad before Dutch football was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Similarly, attack-minded left-back Wijndal – also 20 years old, like Ihattaren and Schuurs – earned rave reviews with AZ prior to the 2019-20 campaign being cancelled.

While those three will be hoping for their first caps, Leroy Fer and Tim Krul are aiming to return to action with the national side after significant periods away.

Krul last played for his country in October 2015, while Fer's absence has been 11 months longer – he featured most recently against Mexico in November 2014.

Daley Blind was among several on the provisional list, but he has been discarded after a recent health scare in an Ajax friendly.

The centre-back, who was last year fitted with a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator after being diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation, collapsed in the meeting with Hertha Berlin but insisted he was "feeling fine" when he provided an update on Wednesday.

Myron Boadu, Teun Koopmeiners and Calvin Stengs were among the more surprising omissions of those on the provisional list.

The Netherlands face Poland on September 4 and Italy three days later.

Netherlands squad in full:

Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Marco Bizot  (AZ), Tim Krul (Norwich City); Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Hans Hateboer (Atalanta), Perr Schuurs (Ajax), Joel Veltman (Brighton and Hove Albion), Stefan de Vrij (Inter), Owen Wijndal (AZ); Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Leroy Fer (Feyenoord), Mohamed Ihattaren (PSV), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Kevin Strootman (Marseille), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Quincy Promes (Ajax), Ryan Babel (Galatasaray), Steven Bergwijn (Tottenham).

Ajax defender Daley Blind allayed concerns over his health, insisting he is "okay and feeling fine" following a scare.

Blind is said to have collapsed before being substituted during Tuesday's 1-0 friendly win against Bundesliga opponents Hertha Berlin.

Former Manchester United utility Blind was fitted with a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator – a device that monitors and regulates his heart rhythm – after being diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation following a Champions League game with Valencia last December.

The 30-year-old Netherlands international provided an update via social media on Wednesday, writing: "Many thanks for all the kind messages I've received.

"I can say that I'm okay and feeling fine."

Blind re-joined Dutch giants Ajax, where he began his career, in 2018 after spending four years with United in the Premier League.

Ajax are due to begin their Eredivisie season on September 13.

The 2019-20 campaign was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic before being declared void a month later.

It appears that, if Lionel Messi has his way, he will be playing for a new club before long.

The Barcelona captain and talisman has told his employers that he wants to leave and, although the club seem determined to keep him, they may be fighting a losing battle.

Of course, prising Messi away from Barca is by no means straightforward. His basic salary is said to be roughly €71million and, when you add in bonuses and other possible commitments, that represents a huge outlay on a 33-year-old player.

That's before you consider the prospect of a nine-figure transfer fee, assuming he cannot successfully argue that the clause allowing him to walk away from Barca for nothing is still valid. Only a tiny handful of clubs are even capable of pulling off such a deal, particularly in a financial landscape changed by COVID-19.

But what if, just for a minute, we imagine money is no object and Messi could play for anyone he chooses? What if the thrill of the game were more important to him than winning a fifth Champions League? What if he threw caution to the wind and went somewhere just for fun?

We've imagined such a scenario, and these are the teams we'd love to see him play for...

 

AJAX

The link between Ajax and Barca goes beyond the basics of football: it's a shared ideology, a philosophical connection, a spiritual understanding.

From Johan Cruyff to Ronald Koeman, plenty of players and coaches have shared the love of both clubs, but Messi moving to Amsterdam would turn the romance up to 11.

Messi as the focal point of an Ajax side - who are beautiful to watch as it is - is a wonderful idea, and there is even the faint prospect of Luis Suarez going back to his old club to join him.

Plus, given the players they have signed from Ajax in the past - Frenkie de Jong the latest - Barca probably owe the Eredivisie club a transfer favour in return.

ATALANTA

Gian Piero Gasperini's side captured the hearts of the football world in 2019-20, threatening a title challenge in Serie A and coming close to reaching the Champions League semi-finals.

They did all this on a modest budget, playing vibrant, attacking football, and all during a global pandemic that struck Bergamo and the Lombardy region harder than almost anywhere else in Europe.

The way Argentine Alejandro Gomez pulls the strings for Atalanta is a joy to watch, but imagine if Messi were doing it alongside him. Imagine them facing Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus. Imagine Marten de Roon's Twitter feed.

Glorious, isn't it?

COLOGNE

The GOAT and the Billy Goats - what could be better?

Cologne have gone through some tricky times but Markus Gisdol has done a brilliant job in steadying the ship in the Bundesliga and was rewarded with a new contract until June 2023.

They might not have won the title since 1978, but they are among Germany's most esteemed clubs, with an ardent fan base and a beautiful home city. If Messi could lead them to challenge the might of Bayern Munich, it would be an unforgettable story.

If not... well, they have a goat as a mascot, for goodness' sake. It's too perfect.

LEEDS UNITED

It might be too early for Messi to return to Newell's Old Boys, but what if he joined up with Rosario's other most famous footballing export in Yorkshire?

Leeds United are back in the Premier League at last, having swept all before them in the Championship in 2019-20 under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa and his big blue bucket.

The chance to help awaken a sleeping giant of the English game while playing for the man who inspired Pep Guardiola sounds like an opportunity that's too good to miss.

Plus, if he wanted to visit Sergio Aguero, Manchester is less than an hour away by train.

MARSEILLE

If he's not ready to give up the Mediterranean lifestyle, Marseille is parfait for Messi.

OM remain the only French men's team to be champions of Europe - something of which they've been keen to remind fans of Paris Saint-Germain in recent days - and their supporters are possibly the loudest outside South America. Messi's Marseille beating Neymar's PSG would probably cause a year-long street party.

Head coach Andre Villas-Boas has compared Dimitri Payet to Messi, so you can only imagine he'd be thrilled to have them both. As for getting him there, sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta knows him only too well from his time at Barca.

In fact, Zubizarreta was another to be forced out by Josep Maria Bartomeu's operations. He'd probably like nothing better than to share a quiet cassis on the Cote d'Azur, reminiscing about those Camp Nou troubles.

Ajax defender Daley Blind is "feeling well" and will undergo further tests following a health scare on Tuesday, his club have confirmed.

The former Manchester United defender is said to have collapsed before being substituted during a friendly match with Hertha Berlin.

Blind was fitted with a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator, a device that monitors and regulates his heart rhythm, after being diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation following a Champions League game with Valencia last December.

Ajax issued a statement via Twitter on Wednesday, saying: "Daley Blind was forced to leave the pitch during Ajax - Hertha BSC.

"The central defender is feeling well, given the circumstances, and was at Sportpark de Toekomst this morning. He will undergo further examinations and await the results of these tests before resuming training."

Netherlands international Blind rejoined Ajax, where he began his career, in 2018 after spending four years with United.

Ajax are due to begin their Eredivisie season on September 13. The 2019-20 campaign was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic before being declared void a month later.

Lionel Messi wants to leave Barcelona, but where will he go?

Manchester United, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus are possible destinations.

But, both Manchester clubs are believed to be targeting the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE MESSI, BUT LIONEL WANTS CITY

Manchester United are in position to sign wantaway Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, according to Deportes Cuatro.

Messi wants to sensationally leave embattled LaLiga giants Barca and United are reportedly one of the clubs capable of signing the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

However, The Athletic claims neighbours Manchester City and Messi have held talks, with the superstar open to playing for Pep Guardiola again.

Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Telegraph reports Real Madrid outcast James Rodriguez is close to joining Everton. James has previously worked under Carlo Ancelotti at Bayern Munich and Madrid.

Chelsea will complete the signing of Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, says Fabrizio Romano. The transfer will be announced soon as Chelsea also look to bring in Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and PSG captain Thiago Silva.

- Calciomercato claims Zlatan Ibrahimovic is close to signing a new deal with Milan. The 38-year-old is out of contract after returning to Milan for a second spell in January.

Barca want City's Gabriel Jesus to replace veteran forward Luis Suarez, according to Globo Esporte. Suarez has been told he can leave Camp Nou, and former club Ajax are reportedly trying to re-sign the Uruguayan.

Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars said the club's chances of re-signing Barcelona star Luis Suarez are "quite small".

Suarez, 33, has reportedly been told he is not part of Barca's plans as new head coach Ronald Koeman tries to rebuild the embattled LaLiga giants.

Ajax have emerged as a possible destination for Suarez, who spent four years playing for the Eredivisie champions before joining Liverpool in 2011.

Amid speculation Ajax are in talks to bring Suarez back to Amsterdam, Overmars addressed the rumours.

"Let me put it this way: the chance that he will come is quite small," Overmars told Ziggo Sport as Ajax defeated Hertha Berlin 1-0 in Tuesday's friendly.

"That's a straight answer, I think. Whether there has been any contact with him? We have that with several ex-Ajax players. That is logical, you also have to maintain that."

Suarez, who won the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup during his time at Ajax, has celebrated four LaLiga titles and the Champions League among other honours since moving to Barca in 2014.

Overmars, meanwhile, was also asked about in-demand Ajax star Donny van de Beek.

Van de Beek has been linked to Manchester United and Real Madrid, though Barca are believed to be eyeing the Netherlands international following Koeman's appointment.

"No idea, at least that hasn't made it onto my plate yet," Overmars said when quizzed on Barca's rumoured interest.

Overmars added: "It's pretty quiet. I certainly think the market has yet to get going. That makes sense: the Champions League has only just ended, so that will start soon. 

"There is always interest for some players. A few players look good, one player has fairly serious interest. Who that is? That will show itself in the coming weeks."

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