According to numerous reports, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is interested in bringing Netherlands enforcer Nigel de Jong back to Manchester but this time to join the Red Devils.
The AC Milan midfielder arrived in Serie A in 2012 from Manchester City where he spent three years under Roberto Mancini at the Etihad. The 29-year-old is well known to the United manager through his work with the Netherlands national team but fans hopeful of a potential £47 million deal to sign Arturo Vidal may be a little underwhelmed by reports the club is ‘in talks’ over an £8 million deal for a former City player.
De Jong earned himself a reputation as a combative and destructive presence in the centre of the park, most epitomized by his infamous kung-fu kick on Spain international Xabi Alonso at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
United fans, and the manager alike, had been hopeful the club would be able to achieve an agreement with Juventus over the possible signing of Chile star Arturo Vidal but Louis van Gaal’s relationship with De Jong could influence his decision-making over his midfield target.
Van Gaal has never worked with Vidal but, on the other hand, he had never before worked with the likes of Ander Herrera or Luke Shaw. If it was another manager, the suggestion United would sign De Jong (in both principle and practice) to be ludicrous given not only his previous association with City but, more importantly, his age, recent form, and profile now that he is not considered anywhere near the best in the world in his position.
His experience, having played in a World Cup final, for example, perhaps could be something the boss is looking for, however.
The signings of Herrera and Shaw are both very young and the squad overall is now younger in terms of the average following the departure of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra.
Perhaps, with that in mind, Nigel de Jong could be the ideal candidate to provide some maturity and calm to the Dutch master’s midfield and, furthermore, for a well under a quarter of the price they are reportedly considering paying for Arturo Vidal.