Manchester United have been able to beat Arsenal and Chelsea to sign the highly rated Dutch talent Millen Baars, reports M.E.N.
The 16-year-old comes in from Ajax and he is the second major Dutch signing for the Premier League outfit as they only recently brought in teenager Tahith Chong. The two players will be a major addition to the Under 18 team, which is currently managed by Kieran McKenna.
In order to prevent any interest from United escalating further, Ajax provided Millen Baars captaincy for the B1 team in a last-ditch effort. However, the player’s mind seemed to have been made already and United have secured the prized asset. Millen Baars confirmed that the move on his Instagram account by wearing the Manchester United training kit. The player’s father has claimed that Ajax had been in talks for quite a while in order to convince the player to remain in the Dutch football.
His father claims that it was not a surprise that Baars was even offered captaincy of the B1 team. Speaking after the move concluded, his father said:
“We have had talks with Ajax that were between Millen and the club. But it was certainly nothing shocking, he was even appointed captain this season of the B1.
“Ajax is a great club with a very good youth, but they can unfortunately not cope so very well. You saw in the past with other youth players who now play at other clubs. But Millen was ready for a different challenge.
“He played nine seasons in Amsterdam and he has always had the dream to play football in England.”
Ajax have a great tradition of producing young players just like Manchester United. However, playing for the Premier League outfit provides a much bigger exposure to tougher players right from the young age. Even though United boss Jose Mourinho is not the one to consider players from the academy too much, Baars is understood to have made the decision so that he gets to fulfil his dream of playing in England.
Baars has been playing in Amsterdam for nine seasons already. His father has admitted that there was interest from Portugal and Italy as well. In terms of English clubs, Chelsea are understood to have come the closest to securing his signature. Even though Arsenal were in competition to sign the player, his choice was made to choose anyone between United and Chelsea.
The 16-year-old will not be able to play for Manchester United’s youth teams straightaway, as he has to receive an international clearance. Receiving this clearance will allow him to play for the under 16 team.
Manchester United are no strangers to signing youngsters from Ajax. One of the most high-profile players to have made the switch from the Dutch giant in recent years is Timothy Fosu-Mensah. The young right back is seen as the future replacement for Antonio Valencia. Gyliano van Velzen, who won the FA youth cup in 2011, is also one of the rivals from Ajax. In terms of the senior squad, Daley Blind was brought in from the Dutch club in the summer of 2014.
United have been on a signing spree not just in terms of the senior team but also for the academy.