Manchester United’s pursuit of Jurrien Timber has fallen apart after Louis Van Gaal told him he would face the axe for the world cup.
Erik ten Hag wanted to bring Ajax defender Timber, 21, with him to Old Trafford with a transfer between the two parties edging closer to agreement.
However, Netherlands boss Van Gaal – who managed United between 2014 and 2016 – reportedly told the defender he could be axed from the Dutch World Cup squad in Qatar if he wasn’t playing every week.
On whether a deal could still be struck between the parties, Dutch journalist Marcel Van Der Kraan told Sky Sports: “Absolutely dead (the deal) in the water.
“The player was ready to come. The player’s agents were in London at Manchester United’s offices two weeks ago.
“The talks were very good, money was never a problem but then Louis van Gaal turned up and told the player in the Dutch camp ‘if you go there I think your chances could be limited for playing for Holland in the World Cup’.”
Timber had reportedly been close to agreeing a transfer worth around £30million.
However, with Van Gaal’s intervention the deal now seems to be off, and Timber is set to sign a new deal with the Dutch Champions.
Timber was one of Ten Hag’s main players at Ajax last season as they claimed a third Eredivisie title in a row, appearing 43 times in all competitions and scoring three goals.
He made his breakthrough in the national team last year and has made eight caps so far.
He can play as either a centre-back or right-back, with the latter in particular being a problem area for United.
United have struggled to secure deals for a number of players this window, most notably Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona.
New United CEO Richard Arnold told fans who were set to protest outside his house that the money was there for Ten Hag and new football director John Murtough to spend on transfers.
But with factors such as Van Gaal and no Champions League football hindering the club’s transfer plans, the lack of new signings makes bleak viewing for The Red Devils.
Van Gaal’s first year in charge at United yielded a return to Champions League football in the first season after David Moyes’ managership saw United miss out on Europe all together.
The following season saw United win the FA Cup for the first time since 2004, but a fifth placed finish in the league saw the Dutchman sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho.
Five years later Van Gaal then reprised his role as coach of the Netherlands national team.
He will step down following the World Cup in winter after revealing he was suffering from prostate cancer.