The 29-year-old Dutch midfielder is infamous for his Kung-Fu kick on Spain’s Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup Final. While t defensive midfielder spent three years in the Premier League with Manchester City before signing for AC Milan in 2012.
Nigel de Jong has been linked with a move to Arsenal on numerous occasions in previous transfer windows, but would he be the right option for the Gunners now. At 29, he is experienced in the Premier League, Champions League and on the international stage, but he could hardly be considered a long-term replacement for Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini who currently occupy his position in Arsene Wenger’s team.
Meanwhile, Arteta’s pass completion rate is higher, 92.1% this term to de Jong’s 91.4% in Serie A. He did, however score the same number of goals as Arteta - two last the season - and contributed three assists compared to the Spaniard’s nil for Arsenal this term.
However, goals are not really what fans will be wanting from a holding midfield player and, defensively, de Jong has been a superb enforcer over his career. Nonetheless, he made fewer tackles per game on average than Arteta this term, 2.2 per game to Arteta’s 3.4 per game, as well as conceding more fouls, 1.4 per game to Arteta’s 1.1 per game on average, and contributed the same number of clearances, 1.7 per game.
Where he is more effective than the Gunners’ man is in terms of his reading of the game, evidenced by his superior stats regarding interceptions, blocks and his number of defensive actions per game. De Jong also was dribbled much less often than Arteta, 0.7 times per game to Arteta’s 1.1 times per game which, for a defensive midfielder, is where the responsibility lies.
There have been debates and complaints this season over the Gunners’ vice-captain. Personally, I think he is a fantastic servant for the club who has been asked to play by the manager out of his formerly preferred position. I think Flamini is a better out-and-out defensive midfielder but Arteta brings composure and experience to the Gunners' midfield, which still contains a lot of young players.
I would not see de Jong as an obvious choice for Wenger to bring in this summer. His age means that he would be a stop-gap signing and while he does have the required experience and quality in the role, a signing for the future, such as the suggested Lars Bender or Javi Martinez would be a more appropriate signing.
Arsenal no longer really have a great need for de Jong, as they perhaps have in the past, which is probably where these links between the club and the player will likely remain.