Manchester United have blueprint to show Jurrien Timber why he should ignore Louis van Gaal – Tyrone Marshall

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They say revenge is a dish best served cold and Louis van Gaal appears to have been storing his grievances with Manchester United in a freezer for the past six years.

Van Gaal was poorly treated when he was sacked by United in the immediate aftermath of winning the FA Cup final in 2016, even if the writing was on the wall for the coach whose style had turned soporific at Old Trafford.

United should probably have realized that angering the temperamental and straight-talking Van Gaal was not wise to do and in the intervening years he’s taken every opportunity possible to fire a dig at the club and, especially, Ed Woodward.

READ MORE: United manager Erik ten Hag targeting five signings

This summer Van Gaal’s role as the emément grise of Dutch coaching has put him back on the radar at United. The Holland manager first advised Erik ten Hag not to take the job and is now telling players not to sign for his former club. His voice carries plenty of weight, especially in a World Cup year.

Ten Hag was single-minded enough to ignore Van Gaal’s barbs about choosing a “football club and not a commercial club”, but for Dutch players hoping to cement their place in his 26-man squad for Qatar in November and December, going against Van Gaal’s words of wisdom is harder to do.

The 70-year-old has made it clear players must be playing regularly at club level to stay in his international squad and Donny van de Beek can attest to those words being more than hollow threats. Van de Beek’s disastrous two years at United have cost him his place and he hasn’t been featured for Holland since March 2021.

Van de Beek’s fall from grace can certainly act as a warning to other players in Van Gaal’s current plans, so when he told 21-year-old Jurrien Timber of the importance of playing regularly and the risks involved in following Ten Hag to Old Trafford, he was always going to listen.

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“I think a player of his quality can play in the Premier League. That is not a problem, “said Van Gaal.” If he has to make this big step now, that’s the question. It is not so wise I think (to move to United). He has to play. “

Reports in Holland suggest Van Gaal’s advice has scuppered a deal and Ajax certainly seem more confident of keeping Timber now. But at the moment a defender isn’t a priority for United, that’s an area only likely to be looked at once a midfielder and a forward have been signed.

Timber’s caution may be understandable when it’s likely he will only be the third-choice center-back behind Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane, although there will be games to play there in the Carabao Cup and Europa League.

But United’s defensive activity this window is likely to be based around departures as well. At center-back, Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly could all leave and at right-back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is up for sale.

Should United manage to find a buyer for Wan-Bissaka it would leave only Diogo Dalot in that position and that’s why the interest in Timber could make sense. The Ajax academy graduate can also play at right-back. Five of his 43 appearances this season came in that position and nine of 25 games last season.

Timber can provide competition for Dalot and at center-back if he does sign for United, easily getting enough games to stay relevant enough to be part of Van Gaal’s squad for the World Cup. As a young defender, it would also allow Timber a year at right-back to develop for United while Ten Hag assesses the merits of the partnership between Varane and Maguire.

On the face of it, signing a left-footed center-back would make sense, but the Timber advantage has his versatility and in a summer when United simply can not tick every transfer window requirement, that could be vital. It would be a benefit for the player as well as he pursues his international ambitions.

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