Is Louis van Gaal fuelling Frenkie de Jong's Manchester United doubts?
Holland boss Van Gaal has reminded all his players that they will not be part of his plans for this November's World Cup finals in Qatar
Manchester United have been chasing the signature of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong all summer, but a new twist has been added to this plot by former United boss Louis van Gaal.
The current coach of the Holland team led United to the 2016 FA Cup before he was sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho, with his frustration over that decision highlighted in his comments since his Old Trafford exit.
Now there are suggestions in Holland that Van Gaal has reminded all his players that they will not be part of his plans for this November's World Cup finals in Qatar unless they are playing regular first team football.
That may be playing on the mind of De Jong as he weighs up his options in a summer when Barcelona appear to be keen to off-load the Dutch midfielder.
With new United manager Erik ten Hag at the start of a huge rebuilding programme this season, De Jong would be taking a gamble by linking up with his old Ajax boss ahead of a season of uncertainty at Old Trafford.
That could impact De Jong's decision as he considers a move to United and he has already voiced concerns over the prospect of a switch to Manchester.
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"I prefer to stay with Barcelona,” De Jong told ESPN earlier this month.
“Barcelona is just my dream club. Also from a young age. I just said it too. I've never regretted my choice despite the fact that I had hoped for more in terms of prizes than I've achieved so far. But I have never regretted my choice.”
De Jong also directly addressed rumours linking him with Manchester United, who have appointed his former Ajax coach Erik Ten Hag as manager for next season: “What I'm saying, there is absolutely nothing of an agreement or anything official. At the moment there is no question of it at all.
“Not that I know of in any case. Or they must not have told me, but I don't think so.”