Southampton’s £10.5 million new summer signing Jordy Clasie claims he would have rejected Manchester United to sign for Ronald Koeman’s Saints side.
The 24-year-old attracted interest from Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal but says he always favoured a move to St Mary’s Stadium.
He moved to St Mary’s from Feyenoord last month in a deal worth approximately £10.5m.
The Dutch international is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in his home country, and he attracted the interest of United manager Louis van Gaal.
Van Gaal gave Clasie his international debut in 2012 but the player insists he would have snubbed the chance to move to Old Trafford, even if United made a concrete bid for him.
“If the United interest had become concrete I think I still would have preferred Southampton,” Clasie told The Sun. “It’s better to start lower and finish higher than the other way round.”
The fact United were keen on the midfielder highlights how far he has come in his career.
The Dutchman hasn’t had it all his own way in life. His mother walked out on him and his family when he was just 10 years old.
Southampton’s new signing was still at primary school when she deserted him, his father James and brother Roy.
And Clasie insists he will never forget what she did.
“She just left us. I was only ten. It’s in my heart and I can’t forget it,” Clasie said. “Afterwards, it was my father who took care of us. OK, it was not always easy but he did a terrific job.”
Clasie paid tribute to his dad by getting a tattoo which says ‘Papa, you mean everything to me’.
“My first tattoo was just ‘Papa’ — that was when I was 16,” Clasie explained. “Later, I did the rest. For me, it’s a way of honouring him. In this way I carry my father and brother with me every day.”