Manchester United legend Edwin van der Sar has penned an open letter to the club’s supporters after Donny van de Beek’s £40million move from Ajax.
The former goalkeeper, now CEO of the Eredivisie side, asked supporters of his old team to ‘take care’ of the midfielder and admitted he understood the need for him to take the next step in his career.
The Red Devils finally made their first signing of the summer after securing the Dutchman, who has excelled in midfield for Ajax over the last few seasons. He joined the club when he was just a child and his big move to Old Trafford continues his fairytale journey in the game.
In a statement posted on Twitter, van der Sar – who played at United for six years in a hugely successful spell – heaped praise on van der Beek and promised fans they would get an ‘amazing’ player who embodies the club’s pride.
‘Dear Manchester United fans, I hope you’re doing well,’ he 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 49-year-old admitted Ajax were reluctant to part ways with van de Beek but gave his blessing for him to pursue his dreams at United having enjoyed a career there himself, and asked fans to give him their support.
‘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.’
The 23-year-old star will be hoping to emulate the success of van der Sar, who won four Premier League titles and the Champions League from 2005 and 2011 as the club’s undisputed No 1.
Also giving his support for the move was Ajax Director of Football Marc Overmars, who said van de Beek was ‘ready for the next step’ and ‘fully deserved’ the move.
‘This is a great transfer for Donny, one which he deserves,’ the former Arsenal midfielder said.
‘It’s also a compliment to Ajax’s youth academy, where he has played since he was 11.
‘Last summer, there was a lot of interest in him but, luckily, we were able to keep him at Ajax for one more year.
‘In the months that followed, he proved very valuable to us in both domestic and European competitions
‘He has now been a part of the Ajax first team for almost five years. He is ready for this step and we will miss him.’