Louis van Gaal has warned Manchester United target Jurrien Timber about joining the Old Trafford club this summer, believing his progress could stall if he is unable to dislodge Harry Maguire or Raphael Varane.
The 20-year-old Dutch centre-back has emerged as a top target for Man Utd this summer owing to his relationship with former Ajax manager and new Red Devil boss Erik ten Hag, who is thought to be keen on rekindling his association with the defender.
As recently as May, Ten Hag spoke on record about Timber and hinted at the potential of a summer move for the precocious defender. “I think that all top clubs in Europe have Timber in their sights,” the Man Utd boss stated last month.
It is no surprise why Man Utd have surfaced as a front-runner for Timber’s signature. The 20-year-old registered more touches than any other centre-back in the Dutch top flight last season (2,404), more tackles (73), while he also ranked third for ball recoveries (259) and sixth for final third entries (282) and forward passes (765).
His performances at the back for Ajax since breaking through have also culminated in him earning seven caps for the Netherlands at senior level — and his current international manager, Van Gaal — who also coached Man Utd between 2014 and 2016 — has now warned him that he is not a guaranteed starter if he joins Ten Hag’s North-West project.
“I think a player of his quality can play in the Premier League. That is not a problem,” Van Gaal told a press conference ahead of the Netherlands’ Nations League match with Wales on Wednesday.
“If he has to make this big step now, that’s the question. (If he does not play) then he is not so wise, I think. He has to play.”
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