Ajax have announced the signing of Edson Alvarez from Club America for a fee of £13.5m.
The 21-year-old Mexico international joins the Dutch champions on a five-year deal after ending a five-year association with boyhood club the Eagles, where he made 107 appearances, registering five goals and winning two major honours.
A multifunctional defender-cum-midfielder, capable of playing at right-back or as a defensive midfielder, Alvarez relocates to Amsterdam following the recent departure of prodigious centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, who joined Italian powerhouse Juventus after playing an instrumental role in the club’s most successful season this decade.
Alvarez – who helped Mexico lift their eighth CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer – is expected to play in central defence alongside Daley Blind, but manager Erik ten Hag has various options for the berth that includes Joel Veltman, Perr Schuurs and Lisandro Magallan.
His transfer will be seen as a coup for the Dutch champions as they beat off stiff competition from Premier League sides Wolverhampton Wanderers, Crystal Palace and West Ham United as well as AS Roma for his signature.
“Even though I could go to the Premier League: I didn’t think for a second about going to a club other than Ajax,” he told De Telegraaf.
“The style of Ajax appeals to me. It’s a great team with a lot of talent. With their successes in the Champions League, they have made an impression not only in Europe, but also in Mexico.
“Being part of this club and this team is a great honour and a fantastic step in my career.”
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) July 22, 2019
How do you replace a talent like De Ligt? Five key things to know…
- De Ligt (19) recently left Ajax for Juventus after leading the Amsterdammers to a first domestic double since 2002 as well as a Champions League semi-final finish.
- His departure has long been prepared for by sporting director Marc Overmars who has previously signed Perr Schuurs (January 2018) and Lisandro Magallan (January 2019), as well as Kik Pierie and Lisandro Martinez this summer.
- Joel Veltman, who De Ligt succeeded as captain, is also capable of playing in central defence even after being converted into a right-back under former manager Frank de Boer.
- Alvarez predominantly played as a defensive midfielder in Mexico’s recent Gold Cup triumph.
- However, last season for Club America he was utilised as a centre-back, where his focus is expected to be for the Dutch champions.