‘Many players called me’ – Louis van Gaal insists he did not urge Dutch players to reject Man Utd moves

    Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal
    Van Gaal spoke to a number of players over the summer (Picture: Getty)

    Louis van Gaal has hit back at suggestions he urged members of his Netherlands squad to reject summer moves, including to his former side Manchester United.

    Following Erik ten Hag’s appointment at Old Trafford, United were interested in signing a number of players from the Eredivisie, bringing in Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord.

    The manager also hoped to sign his former Ajax defender Jurrien Timber while Feyenoord forward Cody Gakpo was another on the club’s radar.

    United eventually cooled their interest after signing Antony from Ajax in a £86million deal, with Leeds United and Southampton failing with late bids to bring the forward to the Premier League.

    With the World Cup set to get underway in November, Netherlands boss van Gaal warned Timber it was ‘not so wise’ to leave Ajax in the summer with Gakpo also revealing the manager told him a move was ‘not ideal’.

    The 71-year-old, who managed United for two seasons before being sacked after winning the FA Cup, has now addressed those conversations, insisting he merely offered advice and told players to trust their own judgment.

    ‘Many players have called me, that is indeed true,’ said Van Gaal, de Telegraaf report. ‘I have always ended the conversations with the words: this is advice, you should always stay close to yourself and make the choice yourself. The storm is now over and I must say that it has been pleasing to me.’

    Dutch players Jurrien Timber and Cody Gakpo
    Both Timber and Gakpo were on United’s radar (Picture: Getty)

    Timber, who excelled under ten Hag at Ajax, has also played down suggestions van Gaal told him to reject United.

    The defender explained earlier this month: ‘Many things that are written in the media are false.

    ‘Like when people say that it was Louis van Gaal who told me not to go to Manchester United. He actually said I would make minutes there.’

    Gakpo meanwhile also clarified van Gaal urged him to ‘follow his feelings’ over a move.

    ‘I spoke to the national team coach [Van Gaal] and asked for his advice. His advice was clear, that I should follow my feelings, but that a transfer in a World Cup year is such a transition, going from club to club. It’s not ideal for a player, and I agreed with him.

    ‘From my side, it was also a bit last minute because I was looking at United and then I have to choose a different club. It all felt like a bit of a rush. Plus, it wasn’t nice for PSV because it was so last minute.’

    MORE : Bryan Robson reveals how close Manchester United came to Jude Bellingham transfer

    MORE : Manchester United plan £25million bid for Benfica star Goncalo Ramos will club still seeking new forward option

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