In the end, the Dutch midfielder signed for Middlesbrough.
He told the Daily Mail: "When I left Villa, I wanted to join a top four team. I was really close to signing for Liverpool. Unfortunately, the middle man wanted whatever, something went wrong, and, last minute, the deal collapsed. Fulham were also interested. I wanted to go there, but Steve McClaren phone and said 'just come and meet me, let’s have a chat'. I thought, what harm can it do?"