Tyrell Malacia is closing in on a £13 million ($16m) transfer to Manchester United, with the 22-year-old left-back revealing that he predicted such a switch would form part of his future when facing the Red Devils in a youth football tournament.
The promising defender has come a long way since then, with a reputation established as one of the most promising talents in Dutch football, and a step up onto a Premier League stage is about to be taken.
A highly-rated Netherlands international feels ready for that challenge, with there never any doubt in his mind that he would one day tread a path to Old Trafford – with fellow countryman Erik ten Hag about to make that dream come true.
Was Tyrell Malacia destined to make Man Utd transfer?
GOAL can confirm that Malacia has passed a medical with United and is ready to see the formalities of a move to England tied up.
He has been discussing that deal with De Telegraaf, saying of a switch to the Red Devils forming part of his destiny: “In the youth team of Feyenoord we played a youth tournament at United years ago - and I was so impressed by everything. I said to myself ‘I’ll come back here one day.’ That has now come true and that is, of course, wonderful.
“This is one of the biggest clubs in the world, with a fantastic stadium and a wonderful history- and of course with a lot of top players who have played here. I am proud but also very grateful that I get this opportunity. I understand that the work on an even higher level only begins now.
“Becoming better every day and showing at this level that you can measure up. I have worked hard all my career and this is a reward for that, for me and for all the people who have always supported me and believed in me.”
Who inspired Tyrell Malacia to make Man Utd move?
Malacia has already spoken with Ten Hag about the immediate and long-term future at United, with the classy full-back being allowed to follow in the footsteps of his boyhood idol, Robin van Persie.
He added on opening a new chapter in his blossoming career: “I always followed Manchester United because Robin van Persie played there and he was a Feyenoord player. He was a lad who came from the academy at Feyenoord, too - just like me. That's why I got an extra feeling with this club.
“I talked to him (Van Persie) about the club and the city. About places to live. Also through my childhood friend Tahith Chong, with whom I played at Feyenoord, I have heard a lot.
“I’m only just coming to this level so I still have to show what I can do. But I want to reach the very highest and go for it - and I think I can do it, yes.
“Mr Ten Hag is a very good coach and also a warm person, so I had a good conversation with him and I have a very good connection with him. That's important, because if all goes well we'll be working together for many years. I'm looking forward to that, because I think I can learn a lot from him. He has a record for improving players individually, as long as they are prepared to work hard.”
Malacia continued: “I also feel the tempo and the spirit in the matches will suit my game. And just look at all the fantastic footballers in the Premier League: [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Kevin] De Bruyne, [Mohamed] Salah - and in the past people like [Thierry] Henry, Van Persie, [Ruud] van Nistelrooy.”