According to Calciomercato.com, Manchester United are interested in signing former Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong, with the Dutchman’s contract with AC Milan due to expire in June. The 30-year-old has reportedly opted against signing a new deal with the Italian outfit, and is said to be in talks with the Manchester club.
De Jong moved to Milan from Man City in 2012, where he won the Premier League and the FA Cup, and after spending two-and-a-half years at the San Siro, the midfielder will now be available on a free transfer in the summer.
Man United’s apparent interest in the Dutchman coincides with Louis van Gaal’s recent admission that his side are in need of “balance” in midfield, while the 62-year-old has also made reference to the overwhelming number of “creative” players he has at his disposal, including Adnan Januzaj and Angel Di Maria.
De Jong’s profile as a tenacious and physically strong defensive midfielder would be a clear indication to the Man United manager that he is a player who is capable of adding such balance to his side.
There is no doubt that the Dutchman would provide the defensive line in van Gaal’s side with protection, as this season with AC Milan he has registered 66 interceptions and won 33 tackles in 18 Serie A matches, while last season he achieved 92 interceptions and won 56 tackles in 33 Serie A matches.
There could be suggestions in the football community that a 30-year-old midfielder is a player in decline. However, there have been previous examples of players coming to the Premier League at a similar age and thriving, such as Claude Makelele, who coincidentally was also a 30-year-old defensive midfielder who joined Chelsea in 2003, and enjoyed a highly successful spell at the club.
What is more, van Gaal previously worked with the Dutchman when he was the manager of the Netherlands, and so a player-manager relationship has already been established between the two.
The Man United manager would also be motivated to pursue the deal as de Jong can be signed on a free transfer in the summer. Ultimately, the Dutchman would be a great acquisition for the Manchester club.