Ajax striker Brian Brobbey has confirmed Erik ten Hag wanted to sign him for Manchester United this summer, while also explaining why he rejected their advances.
Brobbey came through Ajax’s famed academy and gained promotion to their U21 squad summer 2019. However, he left Amsterdam two years later to join RB Leipzig in Germany.
The centre-forward went on to play 14 times for Leipzig in the first half of last season. However, he didn’t manage to register a single goal or assist.
Amid Brobbey’s struggles in the Bundesliga, Leipzig opted to send him back to Ajax.
The 20-year-old thrived while back in his native Netherlands. He managed seven goals and one assist in 11 Eredivisie appearances, either side of a knee injury.
Brobbey returned to Leipzig at the end of last season. But he was never going to stay there long after struggling for them, while his impressive form with Ajax contrastingly earned him admirers.
Manchester United began to pursue Brobbey in July. Ten Hag knows the striker well from his time managing Ajax and wanted to reunite with him at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils have needed a striker pretty much all summer amid uncertainty surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s future. And Brobbey is one of the players who was under consideration among United chiefs.
Man Utd receive Brian Brobbey snub
Unfortunately for Ten Hag and his club, Brobbey rejected their proposal and returned to Ajax on a permanent deal.
According to transfermarkt, the move cost Ajax around £14.7million. This saw Leipzig make a decent profit on the Netherlands U21 international, as he originally joined them on a free.
Brobbey is now back playing at the Johan Cruyff Arena and looking to impress. He wants to force his way into the Dutch senior squad for the World Cup in Qatar.
Brobbey has registered one goal and two assists in three league matches with Ajax so far.
Amid this decent form, Brobbey has confirmed Ten Hag phoned him earlier this summer to try and get him to join United.
During an interview with Dutch outlet Voetbal International (via Goal), the player said: “I absolutely wanted to come back to Ajax.
“Erik also wanted to work with me again, he texted me once to see if I was open to it. But I thanked him nicely and told him I wanted to go back to Ajax.
“My friends are here, Ajax’s playing style… it just wasn’t finished yet.”
Brobbey’s decision makes sense. He has a strong connection with the reigning Eredivisie champions, and this just simply isn’t the case with United.
The goalscorer likes Ten Hag but ultimately didn’t want to risk sitting on the bench for them. This would have done little to help his World Cup dream.
Instead, Brobbey can force his way into Louis van Gaal’s plans by scoring at least 15 goals for Ajax this campaign.