Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has told the club’s board to sign AC Milan midfielder Nigel de Jong this summer.
This is according to the Express, who cite reports in Italy and claim that Van Gaal wants De Jong as an alternative for AS Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman, who was recently ruled out for the rest of the season with another knee injury.
Van Gaal used De Jong while in charge of the Netherlands national team during last summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil after Strootman was ruled out of the showpiece international tournament following surgery.
De Jong could bolster United's midfield
And the current United boss believes De Jong could be the perfect signing to bolster his midfield now that the likes of Darren Fletcher and Anderson have left the club. Tom Cleverley and Nick Powell could also follow their former teammates out of Old Trafford this summer.
De Jong, 30, spent three years in the Premier League with United’s local rivals Manchester City and won a league title, the FA Cup and a Community Shield during his time with the Citizens.
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Despite his influence in City’s midfield, Roberto Mancini sold the Dutch midfielder to AC Milan in the summer of 2012, but the player has been unable to taste any success during his two-and-a-half years with the Rossoneri.
Free transfer on the cards
De Jong’s current contract expires this summer, which naturally makes him an attractive option for Manchester United. This is a player capable of adding some much-needed steel to the Red Devils’ midfield, available on a free transfer.
As well as his tenacity and energy, De Jong would also bring his invaluable experience to the Manchester United dressing room.
The former Ajax and Hamburg star, who helped the Netherlands reach the World Cup final in 2010, made over 100 Premier League appearances with Manchester City.
He has made 60 Serie A appearances for Milan and boasts an impressive 80 caps for the Netherlands national team.
Although an attractive option for Van Gaal, Manchester United fans are likely to be left disappointed if De Jong is chosen as the club’s new midfield enforcer. After all this is a player discarded by Man City a few years back.
Linked with the likes of Strootman, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba in recent times, De Jong might be regarded by some United fans as a cheap and uninspiring signing.
Could De Jong still cut it in the Premier League? Should United be aiming higher? Tell us in the comments below.