However, the inadvertent work he has done as a &aposscout&apos has, to date, gone unnoticed by the club where he spent five successful, goal-packed years between 2001 and 2006. Erik ten Hag &aposignored&apos his compatriot once in that respect and might have to think twice about doing so again.
Even while he was PSV manager, Van Nistelrooy championed Cody Gakpo so much that a transfer to Old Trafford seemed inevitable. However, after side-stepping a move for the Netherlands forward to sign Antony last summer, United could only watch on when rivals Liverpool won the race for his signature in January.
Gakpo went with Van Nistelrooy&aposs blessing and his 37million transfer to Anfield looks a snip by modern standards. United paid through the nose for Antony and will be doing everything in their power to avoid splashing out &aposdumb money&apos when Sir Jim Ratcliffe completes his minority takeover.
The Manchester Evening News understands United want to sign another centre-back next summer and they have had plenty of problems in getting out a stable back-four this season. Countless names have and will continue to do the rounds, but there is a wildcard, Van Nistelrooy-approved option they ought to consider.
Luckily for Ten Hag, he will get to see him play first-hand in United&aposs next match.
“He&aposs a great talent,” said Van Nistelrooy when assessing Jarrad Branthwaite last season. The centre-back, 21, was a shining light for his PSV side as they finished as Eredivisie runners-up and got their hands on silverware with victory over the mighty Ajax on penalties in the KNVB Cup showpiece.
“The boy is young, but he has a future. He&aposs good on the ball, can play left or the right at centre-back because he&aposs two-footed. He has height and speed, so he&aposs very complete.”