The highly-rated 19-year-old appears set to have the pick of Europe’s top clubs in the next transfer window.
Van Gaal admits De Ligt would be a shrewd addition for an ambitious Italian outfit, but feels the Netherlands international would find it easier to slot straight into starting XIs at Camp Nou or the Etihad Stadium.
“In Italy, they are the masters of defence, 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.”
With game time considered to be imperative for De Ligt’s ongoing development, Van Gaal added on the choices faced by the current holder of the prestigious Golden Boy award: “I think you should play at that age.
“At Juventus they have [Leonardo] Bonucci and [Giorgio] Chiellini. It is harder to push them out.”
Barcelona and Manchester City also have international performers in their centre-half berths, but questions are being asked of stars at both clubs.
Samuel Umtiti is being linked with a possible move away from Catalunya, while Goal has revealed that Nicolas Otamendi is open to leaving reigning Premier League champions City in search of a new challenge.
De Ligt would be a suitable alternative to either a World Cup winner at Camp Nou or an experienced Argentine at the Etihad.Many factors are likely to be taken into consideration before he makes a decision on his future, with it possible that a deal Barca already have in place with his Ajax team-mate Frenkie de Jong could sway the youngster towards choosing La Liga as his next port of call.