AFC Ajax have signed Netherlands Under-21 midfielder Ismaïl Aissati from Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven for an undisclosed fee, the 19-year-old joining the Amsterdam club on a four-year contract.
Ajax attempted to sign Aissati midway through last season to fill the gap left by Wesley Sneijder's departure for Real Madrid CF, and the youngster is delighted to have finally made the move to PSV's Eredivisie rivals, even if Ajax will be playing in the UEFA Cup rather than the UEFA Champions League this season. "Ajax are an interesting club," he said. "Why shouldn't I play there? I don't want to go abroad yet, but want to keep on playing at the same level of quality."
Aissati, who had one season left on his contract with PSV, joined the club's youth set up aged 12 and broke into the first team at the start of the 2005/06 season. Since then he has made 58 Eredivisie appearances, scoring four times, including 14 appearances for FC Twente during a loan spell in 2006/07. He is the youngest player to have featured in the UEFA Champions League for PSV, making his debut against AC Milan aged 17 years and 64 days on 19 October 2005.
Aissati was part of the Netherlands squads that won the UEFA Under-21 European Championship in 2006 and 2007, although he missed most of last year's triumph on home soil after suffering an injury in the opening game against Israel. Aissati is only the fourth player to move from PSV to Ajax, following in the footsteps of Gert Bals in 1965, Peter Hoekstra in 1996 and Kenneth Perez last winter. Aissati is Ajax's third major signing of the summer under new coach Marco van Basten, who has already brought in forwards Miralem Sulejmani and Darío Cvitanich for a combined €23 million.
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