Van Gaal risks infuriating Man Utd fans after urging transfer target De Ligt to snub Old Trafford in favour of Barcelona… or Man City

LOUIS VAN GAAL risked infuriating his former side by suggesting Manchester United transfer target Matthijs De Ligt should join Barcelona or Man City.

The Ajax defender has been linked with a move to Old Trafford as United bid to find a solution in the hunt for a centre-back.

However, ex-United boss Van Gaal, who spent two years in Manchester, told Ziggo Sport 19-year-old De Ligt should join Barca or City – believing he would start in both sides.

Van Gaal said: "I think De Ligt can play in any competition.

"In Italy they are the masters of defense, so he can best develop there. If I had the chance I would go to Barcelona.

“They have central defenders who are not too good, so he will play there.

“Or I would go to Manchester City. I don't think the central defenders are that great either, so he'll play there too."

Barca lead the race for the teen star, having already signed his friend Frenkie de Jong in January – but the midfielder will join the Nou Camp next season.

It is reported De Ligt will join his pal in moving to Spain with Barca making a £51m bid for the defender with the fee possibly rising, depending on how long he spends in Spain.

The move was not certain until De Ligt, along with De Jong, helped dump Barca’s rivals Real Madrid out of the Champions League last month.

After their shock 4-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu, De Ligt later informed Barca chiefs of his desire to follow his friend to the Nou Camp.

Initially the teenager, who turns 20 in August, was undecided over the move fearing he would not be a regular feature in the starting 11.

But despite facing competition with Gerard Pique as the right-sided centre-half, De Ligt has been informed he will be a key player in the Barca setup.

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