Another of Newcastle United’s long running Summer transfer pursuits could be hotting up again, with reports in Holland that Newcastle are prepared to pay around 9.5m Euros for the versatile Vurnon Anita of Ajax.
Whether it is pure coincidence or because of renewed interest from Newcastle, the Dutch club have offered the midfielder/defender an enhanced contract according to telegraaf.nl.
The Ajax Director of Football, Marc Overmars;
“We don’t want to lose Vurnon and that is why we have made him a new offer to sign with us until 2015 or 2016. Vurnon is very important for the team and we don’t want to let him go. With his new contract he would be one of the highest earners at Ajax”.
Just over a month ago, our man based in Holland, Paul Benneworth, gave us his take (see below) on the Anita transfer speculation and believed that while the player wouldn’t necessarily be a bargain, he would represent very good value at around £8m (which roughly equates to the 9.5m Euros Newcastle are possibly prepared to offer) and that there was still every chance of the player moving.
Anita could very well be a perfect signing with his ability to play at both left-back and centre midfield. With Cheick Tiote favourite to be missing again for the African Nations, Anita would give us essential extra strength in centre midifeld and with our right-back position still well up in the air, he could give the option of playing on the left with Santon playing on the right. Especially with their looking to be no conclusion to Danny Simpson’s contract stalemate.
The Vurnon Anita saga has taken another interesting twist that suggests that NUFC might be closer to getting their man. Anita returned to start pre-season training in Amsterdam and it seemed that he was likely to be staying.
A fortnight ago it also appeared that Ajax were determined to keep their 23 year old defensive midfielder, with manager Frank de Boer saying he was not prepared to sell him at any price. This week, Ajax’s technical director Wim Jonk, and Anita’s agent, Harrie Lulofs, have changed to talking about a realistic price.
Several days later, Frank de Boer announced on Wednesday that he thought Anita would stay. According to Ajaxlife, the blog of the official supporters’ club, although Ajax will not have concluded their transfer business when the season starts, they do not expect Anita to leave. However, he is not ruling it out and wouldn’t seek to block the player if he wanted to go.
That is an interesting development for a number of reasons. Firstly, Frank de Boer is in a very strong position. Having won the title for the second successive season, he seems finally to have been accepted as the real power within the Ajax camp. So if the technical director is talking about a realistic price, then that suggests that they are willing to do business, even if he himself is talking down the prospect of a departure.
Secondly, Ajax are in a strong position and can plan Anita’s departure in their own best interests. They are cash rich (in comparison to recent years) after a tax windfall and with the likely departure of Belgian international Jan Vertonghen. They have released young talent Ismail Aissati on a free transfer after he tried to bounce them into a four year lucrative contract. They have no need to rush this deal.
Thirdly, with Champions League and Dutch World cup qualifying beckoning for Anita this Autumn, his price may well rise considerably in the next six months, Ajax needing only to sell him in summer 2013 before his current deal expires one year later. They know they hold all the aces around Anita and look likely to drive a hard bargain
All these three factors point to a sensible transfer deal taking place, if there is any deal, perhaps around the £8m mark. that price would represent a good purchase, even if offering little opportunity for profiting on future resale.
Vurnon Anita is a promising player who has developed well and has some potential to fit into Newcastle’s side. A graduate of the Ajax Academy, he could help NUFC in developing a possession based approach to help them compete with the likes of Man City and Man United.
As a solid, if not hyperbolic, signing, he would also fit Newcastle’s recent pattern of transfer deals. Two months left on the transfer window is a long time to make predictions but Anita seems to have become an increasingly likely Newcastle summer purchase.
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