Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek has revealed that a transfer for him to join Real Madrid from Ajax intended to be completed this summer was all agreed last August, only for the deal to be derailed before anything was ever finalised.
But seemingly without the means to complete the transfer this year in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Real didn’t push ahead with their deal. Instead, Van de Beek sealed a £40m switch to Old Trafford this week, making him United’s first signing of the summer.
But it could have easily been so different because, in his own words, the agreement with Real – both from the player’s perspective and between the clubs – was ‘closed’.
“Everything was closed with Real Madrid and the clubs also had an agreement, but for some reason it did not materialise,” the 23-year-old told De Telegraaf.
“Players who were going to leave the team stayed and Madrid backed down,” he added.
“At first you feel fed up and wonder if such an opportunity will appear again,” he said.
But Van de Beek was pleased to get the opportunity to move to Old Trafford and has chosen the number 34 shirt in tribute to his close friend Abdelhak Nouri, who suffered permanent brain damage after collapsing during a pre-season game for Ajax in 2017.
Fans are expecting Van de Beek to make his United debut when the club kick off their 2020/21 Premier League season against Crystal Palace on 19 September, a week later than the rest of England’s top flight as a result of their involvement in the Europa League in August.