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Van de Beek confirms Real Madrid interest as he responds to claims he's Pogba back-up plan

17:03 GMT+3 02/08/2019
Donny van de Beek Ajax
The Netherlands international has been tipped to be the latest Ajax academy graduate to make a big-money move this summer

Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek has confirmed that Real Madrid have shown an interest in him and insists he is not concerned by reports that he is their second-choice target after Paul Pogba.

The 22-year-old has been tipped to follow Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong out of Ajax this summer after playing a starring role in the Dutch side’s run to the Champions League semi-finals last season.

Real Madrid are among a host of top European sides credited with an interest in the midfielder as Los Blancos continue their squad rebuild under returning boss Zinedine Zidane.

Indeed, Marca have gone as far as reporting that the Dutchman has agreed personal terms with the Liga giants ahead of a switch to the Bernabeu.

When asked about the speculation, Van de Beek appeared to confirm Real’s interest and that he was flattered by the transfer talk.

He told Fox Sports: "Of course I hear stuff like that from time to time and it's always good to hear about it.

"But the situation is still the same, even though the media keep creating new stories.

"Of course there is interest, but people tend to rush to conclusions about that."

Fresh reports this week claimed that Real have only turned their attentions to Van de Beek after being frustrated in their attempts to sign Manchester United midfielder Pogba.

The France international’s agent, Mino Raiola, confirmed he is in the process of negotiating a move away from Old Trafford this summer, with Madrid and Juventus the top candidates to sign him.

However, an agreement has yet to be reached which has seemingly prompted Madrid to consider other targets.

When asked about how he felt being second choice after Pogba, Van de Beek added: "I haven't heard it being talked about like that, but it could be true. There's more to it than what’s in the newspapers, but you don't have to believe everything that is written.

"There's always a lot of nonsense. I don't have to tell you what is and isn't true, but again, I'm focusing on Saturday [Ajax's Eredivisie season opener vs Vitesse] and the rest is up to you guys."

Having seen De Ligt and De Jong leave for Juventus and Barcelona respectively, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is realistic and accepts the club faces a battle to keep hold of another of their star players.

He does, however, insist they will not let Van de Beek go without a fight.

"Of course we don't want to lose him, so we have to do all we can to keep him here," he said.

"But when clubs like that come around… it will be very tough. We did very well last year, so you know the players will be wanted [by other teams].

"We're a small football country. It's just how it works. How important is Donny for us? That's obvious. He’s developed at a mega rate. He is extremely important."