The Dutch international completed a £35 million (€39m/$46m) move to Old Trafford from Ajax on Wednesday
Former Ajax star Sjaak Swart has claimed that Manchester United is the right place for Donny van de Beek, who nearly joined Real Madrid or Arsenal instead.
Van de Beek completed a £35 million (€39m/$46m) move to Old Trafford from Ajax on Wednesday, with the 23-year-old signing a five-year deal with the option to extend for an additional season.
There was plenty of interest across Europe for the midfielder’s services, with Swart claiming that Van de Beek could have been off to Real Madrid were it not for the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, the 82-year-old believes that Van de Beek ended up at the right place for his career.
“Manchester United is certainly the right choice,” Swart told Ajax Showtime. “There were more interested clubs, such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Arsenal.
“There were six in total but because of the coronavirus it all ended. It was already a regular idea in March that he would go to Madrid, but because of the virus all of that was postponed. Clubs had no income and they could not sell players.
“Ultimately Manchester United pushed a move through and they are of course a great club. They used to be a championship club and they now want to build towards that again.”
Swart added that United’s Premier League rivals Arsenal were keen on Van de Beek, but the club’s financial situation made a move impossible.
“They really wanted him,” Swart said of the Gunners, “but they just couldn’t get the money for a transfer. Even the biggest clubs struggle. Arsenal is a great club but Man Utd will certainly be an interesting adventure.”
Swart believes that Van de Beek has the technical ability to thrive in England, even though Premier League matches will be played at a faster tempo than the Eredivisie games the Dutch international is used to.
“If you are technical, you can play well in England,” Swart said. “They play at a very fast pace but if you are technical you take that tempo out.
Though Van de Beek is only beginning his career in the Premier League, Swart is already looking forward to seeing him return one day to the club where he became a professional.
“When he finishes his career he has to come back to Ajax,” Swart said. “That would be ideal.”