Jordy Clasie claims he would have snubbed a move to Manchester United if they had bid for his services. The Dutch midfielder joined Southampton in a deal worth close to £10.5m ($16.4m) earlier this summer, although the 24-year-old subsequently suffered a hamstring injury during his competitive debut against Vitesse in the Europa League.
Ronald Koeman remains hopeful the former Feyenoord star will be available for the Premier League opener at Newcastle United on Sunday 9 August, though, and his compatriot's comments will be extremely well received by the Saints supporters.
"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."
United manager Louis van Gaal is certainly well aware of the ability at Clasie's disposal, having given the player his international debut while in charge of Netherlands. He currently has 11 caps to his name, notably coming off the bench for his country during the World Cup semi-final defeat against Argentina.
The pair will not be linking up again at Old Trafford anytime soon, though, with the Red Devils already strengthening considerably in central midfield in the transfer window.
Bastian Schweinsteiger has joined United from Bayern Munich, while Morgan Schneiderlin – the man Clasie has replaced on the south coast – made the switch from the Saints. The pair join Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini in vying for first-team opportunities this season, and Van Gaal will certainly have a selection headache when Tottenham Hotspur arrive on the opening day of the season.
It is unlikely we will ever find out if Manchester United really were interested in signing Clasie this summer but Van Gaal appears to have avoided some potential embarrassment by never officially making a bid.