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Manchester United transfer news: Club to battle Barcelona for Ajax starlet

Ryan Gravenberch
(Image credit: PA)

Manchester United and Barcelona could go head-to-head for Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, according to reports.

Gravenberch has caught the eye of several major European clubs with his performances in the Eredivisie and the Champions League this term.

The 18-year-old made 12 appearances in all competitions in 2019/20 and is now a permanent part of the first-team picture at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

United signed Donny van de Beek from Ajax in the summer and are now keeping close tabs on his former team-mate.

However, they could face stiff competition for the 18-year-old’s signature if reports are to be believed.

According to the Daily Mirror, Barcelona and Juventus are also interested in the 6ft 3in midfielder.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer already has plenty of midfield options at his disposal, with Van de Beek, Paul Pogba, Fred, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes and Nemanja Matic all competing for first-team minutes.

However, United are keen to continue regenerating their squad with a focus on youth, and Gravenberch is seen as one for the future.

The teenager has been compared to Pogba for his style of play, which was honed in the Ajax academy since the age of eight.

The Amsterdam-born midfielder has contributed three goals and four assists to the Ajax cause so far in his career.

Manager Erik ten Hag is said to rate Gravenberch highly, as he proved by making him Ajax’s youngest ever Eredivisie debutant in 2018.

Aged just 16 years and 130 days when Ajax took on PSV, Gravenberch surpassed the record previously set by Clarence Seedorf, a legendary figure at the club.

Born in the Netherlands and of Surinamese descent, the 18-year-old will be hoping to earn his first call-up to the senior Dutch squad in the coming months.

The likes of United, Barcelona and Juventus will continue to closely monitor his development this season.

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