Newcastle United have confirmed the signing of Netherlands international midfielder Vurnon Anita, who has signed a five-year deal with the club.
The 23-year-old joins from Ajax for a fee that is officially undisclosed but is believed to be in the region of £6.5 million. He will wear the number eight shirt recently vacated by Danny Guthrie.
Anita will go straight into the squad for the Premier League opener against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday having undergone a full pre-season campaign with the Eredivisie Champions, and he even kicked off the defence of their title last week in the 2-2 draw with AZ Alkmaar.
Vurnon is a product of the famous Ajax academy and has spent 13 years at the Amsterdam club. He has become an integral part of the current Ajax team and his, now former, manager wasn’t overly happy about losing him. However he does leave with the blessing of Frank de Boer who insists his former midfielder will be a big hit for Newcastle United.
“Of course he goes to Newcastle United with my best wishes,” de Boer told The Chronicle. “He is one of the hardest working young players I have ever seen. He deserves a move to a club like Newcastle United.”
“For me he gave everything during his time here. He never complained once to me about having to drop back into another position. In training he works like he is playing a game and that it means everything. In the one and half years I worked with him he did not stop working. That is what has resulted in his transfer to Newcastle,” de Boer added.
“Newcastle fans will see a player who can deal with the game in England. He gives 300% for you. He is always concentrating on his game and he never ever gives up.”
Frank de Boer concluded by saying: “He has a bright future ahead. It is a great move by Newcastle United. They are a great club and have a good team. They are one of the biggest clubs in England and Vurnon can be very proud of the move.”
High praise indeed from the 112 times capped Netherlands international who spent the best years of his career with Ajax when they really were a force to be reckoned with in the 90’s before moving on to Barcelona. How about the views of Anita’s now current manager though?
“We are delighted to secure the services of Vurnon,” Alan Pardew told the official club website.
“He is an exceptionally talented footballer with great technical ability, which is exactly what I’m looking at in a player. And, at 23-years-old, we hope his best years are at Newcastle.”
“He has come through the Ajax youth system which is world renowned for bringing up players the right way, and I am sure he will fit seamlessly into the squad of players we have here. Vurnon has done his pre-season, and indeed already played one competitive game, so he’s up to speed and ready to play when I need him.”
Of course some people started panicking when news emerged that Anota wanted to have a meeting with Alan Pardew prior to his move to discuss his role in the team. Which player doesn’t want to do that? Happily it’s all worked and Anita is happy with the role he has assigned for him.
“I talked to the manager (Pardew) and the coach (Carver) and they know that I want to play in a defensive midfield place and that’s why they brought me here,” Anita said. “But I can play at left-back or right-back, so that’s also no problem.”
“I won almost everything in Holland so the step was not difficult to make. Now I think we can also win trophies with Newcastle and it’s time to do that. In the Premier League especially, every game is tough so it can help me also to grow in my football skills,” Anita added.
Vurnon had made 138 appearances for Ajax since his debut back in the 2005-2006 season although his breakthrough really came in the 2008-2009 season where he started to feature more regularly in the first team.
I’m sure you’ll all join me in welcoming Vurnon Anita to the club.