Manchester United surprised a few this week following up their high profile signing of Arsenal’s Robin van Persie with the relatively unknown addition of fellow Dutchman Alexander Buttner from Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem.
The latest 23-year-old addition stands at 5 ft 8in, is a left full-back capable of playing further forward on the wing and was a Netherlands Under-20 and Under-21 international.
Courted by Premier League new boys Southampton earlier in the summer, Buttner commands relatively good scoring pedigree considering he is a defender and he struck 10 goals in 107 appearances during his spell at Vitesse Arnhem.
Starting his career as a youth at Ajax but never making the grade, Buttner made his senior debut for Vitesse in 2008 and his meteoric rise even saw him considered for Euro 2012 earlier this summer as Buttner formed a part of Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk’s 36-man provisional squad list.
Speaking about the Dutch new boy, Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Alexander is one of the best young left backs in Europe and we’re delighted to sign him.
“He’s someone we’ve been watching for a while now. He gives us some really exciting options in that position.”
After allowing Brazilian international Fabio to link up with Queens Park Rangers on a season-long loan deal, the Red Devils were seeking a deputy to regular starter Patrice Evra on the left side of the defence after seeing their reported attempts to sign Everton’s Leighton Baines fall on deaf ears at the Merseyside club.
Buttner couldn’t hide his delight at securing a move which was kept under wraps until it was announced on Sunday afternoon.
The Dutchman said: “Joining Manchester United is one of the best days of my life.
“It’s a team I have admired for many years now and I can’t wait to join my teammates and play my part in helping the club be successful.”
The transfer is likely to do Buttner’s international prospects a world of good with the 23-year-old yet to be recognised at senior international level.
The Oranje endured something of a crisis at left back prior to Euro 2012 and had to call up 18-year-old Jetro Willems of PSV Eindhoven in place of regular Erik Pieters with the former the youngest ever player to appear at a European Championships.
With eight days of the summer transfer window to go, Buttner is likely to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s last move in terms of transfer dealings but you never quite know in football.
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