New Manchester United signing Donny van de Beek was heading for Real Madrid before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, says his agent.
Arsenal, Barcelona and Juventus were also chasing the 23-year-old, but Madrid were leading the pack until the world was hit by coronavirus.
As long ago as January, reliable Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf claimed that van de Beek would be joining Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid in the summer.
The outlet’s chief sports writer, Valentijn Driessen, told Veronica Inside (via Goal.com) of the impending transfer, saying: “You can write that down [the Van de Beek to Real Madrid transfer being done]. It’s all settled. It’s done.”
However, the Covid-19 outbreak changed the landscape of the transfer market with the financial ramifications crippling the LaLiga giants.
Instead United moved into pole position and Van de Beek subsequently joined the club this week for a fee in the region of €39m, plus another €5m in add-ons – meaning they also grabbed a significant discount on the price Real had negotiated.
“There were many clubs interested in Van de Beek,” his agent Sjaak Swart is cited as saying by Marca.
“There was Madrid, Barça, Juve, Arsenal…in March everything was ready for him to go to Real Madrid, but with the pandemic everything was postponed. The clubs have no income. The whole scene changed.”
Van de Beek honours Nouri
Van De Beek has revealed he will wear shirt number 34 in honour of former Ajax team-mate Abdelhak Nouri.
Nouri, 23, suffered brain damage after an on-pitch heart attack while playing for Ajax in a pre-season game in Austria in 2017.
Holland international Van De Beek, explained why he had chosen shirt number 34 in an interview on United’s official website.
“This is a special thing for me because my good friend Abdelhak Nouri… maybe you know the story, he had a heart attack and he’s a good friend of mine.
“I’m really close with his family and his brother is one of my best friends and I talk a lot with them.
“So I decided to take his old number on my shirt and I want to get good memories with this number.”