Manchester United have been warned that any attempt to reignite interest in Nigel de Jong when the transfer window will be frivolous, with AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani adamant that the Dutch midfield enforcer 'won''t escape to Old Trafford or anywhere else in January.
De Jong has been persistently linked with a Premier League return and a reunion with former Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal at United, primarily because his contract with Milan expires next summer and the experienced star is still waiting for an offer of fresh terms.
Van Gaal trusts De Jong and even reportedly tried to sign the £10 million-rated anchor on transfer deadline day, but Galliani snubbed that interest and has vowed to do the same if United come calling again.
Galliani makes his stance very clear
Following Milan's 2-2 draw with Empoli this week Galliani was grilled on the futures of two stars well into the final year of their contracts at the San Siro, with Ignazio Abate in the same boat as De Jong, waiting on concrete talks to decide his long-term future.
Galliani has a clear message to anyone trying to sign either of the pair though, telling Sky Sports he won't be bullied into bringing talks forward:
He insisted: “There is time. They won’t escape.”
United may have decided to sign De Jong's international colleague Daley Blind but the news will come as a blow all the same, primarily because the Red Devils are expected to be aggressive in the transfer market again in 2015.
United's defensive deficiencies there for all to see
Van Gaal can be under no illusions that his United side still need to make massive improvements defensively, after shockingly shipping five goals at newly-promoted Leicester City last weekend.
De Jong's know how and commitment to providing a shield for defences would have served United well at the King Power Stadium, in an area of a star-studded squad which clearly still needs to be strengthened.
The 29-year-old could still be a cost-effective signing for United if they can persuade Milan to part with a key midfield linchpin, but Galliani is a tough negotiator and now looks like this transfer ship may well have sailed until next summer at the earliest.