Manchester United are ready to launch a bid to sign AC Milan midfielder Nigel de Jong when the transfer window re-opens in January. The Netherlands international is out of contract next summer, but United are hopeful of agreeing a cut-price deal in the New Year.
This is according to the Daily Star, who cite Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport as confirming that United are monitoring De Jong with a view to making a formal offer in January. The report adds that Van Gaal has been told by United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward that he is free to spend as he pleases when the transfer window re-opens - and will have the funds made available to finance a deal for the former Manchester City star.
Van Gaal a fan of De Jong
Van Gaal knows De Jong well from their time working together with the Netherlands national team. The 29-year-old, who is also good friends with Robin van Persie and Daley Blind, started every match for the Oranje at the World Cup in Brazil before being ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a groin injury before the quarter-finals.
De Jong came into the side to fill the void left by another Van Gaal favourite, Kevin Strootman, and carried out his defensive responsibilities with typical professionalism. Strootman would be Van Gaal’s preferred midfield option in January, but with AS Roma reluctant to sell, United may need to turn their attention to the cheaper De Jong instead.
Is there room for De Jong at United?
De Jong, who would have cost around £10 million to purchase in the summer, would certainly be a useful squad option for the Red Devils. But whether there’s room for him in United’s starting line-up is another matter.
Van Gaal spent a combined £103 million on Angel di Maria, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind in the summer. The three midfielders have all started well at Old Trafford, with Di Maria and Herrera deployed in front of Blind in a 4-1-2-1-2 formation.
De Jong would be competing with his international teammate Blind for the role of United’s defensive midfielder. But with the Red Devils not competing in any European competition and now also out of the Capital One Cup, Van Gaal would have a difficult job on his hands keeping all of his players happy if De Jong arrives in January.