Ajax’s Dutch international defender John Heitinga has agreed to sign a five-year deal with Atletico Madrid.
“I’m thrilled. This is a fantastic next step in my career and I will miss Ajax unbelievably,” he told De Telegraaf.
The 24-year-old said he had reached an agreement to join the Primera Liga side but the clubs had yet to discuss terms for the transfer fee.
Heitinga has a clause in his contract stating that the maximum fee Ajax can demand is €10 million and the defender said Atletico would pay that sum.
Heitinga made his Ajax debut aged 17 in 2001 after coming through their youth system.
“It is a pity, but also understandable, that a player who has played for Ajax for 17 years wants to play somewhere else,” Ajax technical director Martin van Geel told De Telegraaf.
“We have tried for months to keep him in Amsterdam. Most times players leave Ajax just when they have reached their best, just like Wesley Sneijder last year.”