Joel Piroe has spoken of his admiration for former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy after signing for Swansea City from PSV Eindhoven.
Swansea moved quickly to fill the void left by the departure of last season’s top-scorer Andre Ayew, capturing Netherlands youth international Piroe after he was left out of PSV’s squad for the upcoming Eredivisie campaign.
He revealed to the Welsh club’s website that the move to the Championship was the best step for his career, but it is comparisons between the 21-year-old and van Nistelrooy that will capture the imagination of Swans’ fans.
A hat-trick at the under-19s European Championships against Germany was the original source of the accolades, and Piroe was later coached by the former Real Madrid goal-getter during his time at PSV.
“It was a huge honour to be mentioned in the same sentence as van Nistelrooy,” he said. “He’s a great man who has done great things at Manchester United, PSV, Real Madrid and Holland. I look up to him as a Dutch striker. A lot of strikers in Holland want to be like him.
“He trained me at PSV, and I learned a lot from him. After training, we’d grab a bag of footballs and do all the work of what’s important for strikers.
“It was great to work under him and be compared to him, but hopefully I can make my own name here.”
Whilst it may be ambitious to expect Piroe to develop into a goalscorer of the calibre of van Nistelrooy during his time at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea supporters have every right to be excited about this signing.
The club’s reliance on selling their most valuable assets and replacing them with loan players means they have lacked a permanently-owned, quality Championship striker since Oli McBurnie’s departure in 2019, so this move for a promising young forward could be seen as a step in the right direction.
Steve Cooper publicly made it clear that Swansea were short of strikers last season, and with Ayew’s departure it became imperative that more attacking options were brought in this summer if the club are to bounce back from defeat in the play-off final.
Although Piroe’s goalscoring record in his short career so far is hardly exceptional, Cooper will be aiming to get the sort of performances that led to the van Nistelrooy comparison out of him on a consistent basis.