How Louis van Gaal played a role in Jurrien Timber’s failed Man United move

Jurrien Timber’s potential move from Ajax to Man United this summer appears to be off – and a report claims that Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal had a significant role to play in the decision.

The 21-year centre-back has been a top target of new boss Erik ten Hag at Manchester United. He can play both centrally and at right-back.

His stats also make for good reading. Timber completed more passes (2,267) and made more tackles (73) than any other Eredivisie defender last season.

In addition, he was a critical component of the Ajax defence that conceded just 19 goals on their way to the Dutch top-flight title.

Ten Hag, who was appointed as United boss in April, was formerly in charge of Ajax, and has been linked with several of his former players this summer.

Amongst those are midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, winger Antony and centre-back Lisandro Martinez. Despite interest in Gravenberch, however, any potential deal is officially off. The Dutch starlet joined Bayern Munich earlier in June.

Timber was the one who looked most likely out of any of the above names to seal a switch to Old Trafford. However, that transfer now looks to be off as well.

Why is Jurrien Timber seemingly not joining United?

Earlier in the transfer window, Dutch outlet De Telegraaf that Timber’s main objective was to get into the Netherlands squad for the World Cup. To do this, he needs regular first-team football – which wasn’t wholly certain at United.

At Ajax, Timber is an indispensable member of the squad, which would very much aid his cause to be selected for the World Cup.

Now, according to Dutch journalist Marcel van der Kraan, Timber’s potential move to Old Trafford is “dead in the water”. He has revealed the seemingly key role that former Man United boss – and current Netherlands manager – Louis van Gaal played in his change of heart.

Van der Kraan explained to Sky Sports‘ David Fulton: “The player was ready, I think, to come [to United]. His agents went over to London, to Manchester United’s offices, a few weeks ago. I think they had very good talks. Money was never a problem.

“But then one man turned up – Louis van Gaal. In the Dutch camp, he told the player, ‘Look, if you go there, I think your chances could be limited for playing for Holland at the World Cup three months later’. Of course, the World Cup is in November.

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“For Jurrien Timber, a great Ajax style player, a ten Hag style player, that was a bit of blow. Van Gaal made it clear that he would not be in his Dutch team if he was not playing every week for United.

“Of course, United have got [Harry] Maguire. They’ve got [Raphael] Varane. They’ve got great central defenders. He would not be playing every week. You wouldn’t if you were 21 years old. But I’m sure Ten Hag would have wanted to slowly draft him into the system, into the team, and play him at the right time.

“But Timber said, ‘Look, boss. I can’t come with you to United, because my Holland place is more important’.”

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