Manchester United are battling against the odds to sign Matthijs De Ligt this summer.
With no Champions League football to offer, and no league trophy since 2013, there is not an objective case that United are the best club for him.
Our hope is that the £75 million rated star is convinced by the challenge of helping him bring the club back to former glories.
So it is not helpful to see ex boss Louis van Gaal publicly recommending De Ligt joins Manchester City instead, and ignoring United’s cause.
Van Gaal told The Mail: “He could play at Barcelona, but he could play for Manchester City also, and in that case I would choose Pep Guardiola over Lionel Messi.”
He gave no mention of United. This is despite the Red Devils being very much on his mind, as shown with a lengthy interview he has just given to The Guardian.
It’s a shame he recommended City. If he isn’t going to United, it’d be far better if he doesn’t sign for a Premier League club.
Van Gaal’s comments should not be easily dismissed. He is a hero at Ajax after leading them to Champions League victory in 1995.
De Ligt’s Ajax came so close to emulating that this season. There’s a danger he ends up listening to Van Gaal.
However, United can have no real complaints about Van Gaal tipping De Ligt for a move to City, or Barcelona.
Ed Woodward treated Van Gaal badly. He sacked him hours after the Dutchman won the FA Cup final for United in 2016.
Van Gaal is still understandably still bitter about it, and owes United nothing. It’s just his comments are not very helpful to an already difficult cause where United and De Ligt are concerned.
Perhaps if Woodward had treated Van Gaal with more respect and handled his departure better, the Dutchman would be more willing to fight the club’s cause and recommend Old Trafford as the best place for De Ligt.