This trainer, Harm Grevink, 73, was told that he didn’t have long to live after being diagnosed with cancer.
And the man who has been Van de Beek’s mentor since seeing him play as a schoolboy for Veensche Boys told the 23-year-old midfielder his last wish was to see him leave Ajax to join the one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
This is why Van de Beek was so desperate to sign for United after watching a transfer plan to Real Madrid collapse due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Van de Beek said: “Harm was the man who spotted my talent as a kid. He told me I had the talent to be a professional player and he took me to Ajax.
“Every time I was away from the club we were training skills and all kinds of things. He was like a private trainer.
“Sadly now he’s dying – but he had a dream for me. He wanted to live to see my transfer to a big club, the next big step in my career.
“We thought it would be Real Madrid. It didn’t work, for various reasons.
“Now I have joined an absolutely fantastic club in the biggest competition in the world.
“The fact that Harm knows that I am now a Manchester United player, among all those other great Old Trafford players, fills me with joy. Because Harm is a wonderful man.
As Grevink suffers from health issues, Dutch international Van de Beek has leaned on his girlfriend’s father for support. He just so happens to be Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp.
Estelle Bergkamp will move to Manchester with Van de Beek and speaks perfect English from a childhood spent in North London.
Van de Beek said: “I have the best football adviser I can get. I know Dennis hasn’t played for the same club as me now, but I also know he’s a legend in England.
“He knows everything about all the clubs, the teams and the life of a player in the Premier League.
“Dennis told me how much he enjoyed all his years in English football. But he also gave me a warning. It’s a massive league which is really tough.
“There are big demands – and he says it’s important that I’m well prepared for this fact. ”
Van de Beek added: “I am moving from my parents’ house, to a country village, to a big city in another country. It is a step.
“My father André has a chicken farm in the middle of the country.
“So I enter a completely different world in Manchester. But there is no one better than Estelle by my side.
“My English is really nothing special, but Estelle’s English accent is absolutely beautiful. “