Van Gaal urges United to pay £8m to land one of his World Cup stars - report

Sneijder, Robben and De Jong Netherlands

Manchester United appear to be on the verge of landing Angel di Maria - but Louis van Gaal has specifically asked the club to sign Nigel de Jong.

Manchester United's 2-1 defeat to Swansea City on the opening day may have inadvertently been a good thing for the Red Devils. New manager Louis van Gaal was forced to put out a patchwork side at Old Trafford, and it has ultimately forced the club into action in the transfer market.

Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo has joined the club a £16m deal having starred at the World Cup for Argentina, and his international team mate Angel di Maria looks set to follow him to the club. The Real Madrid winger has asked to leave the Bernabeu, and reports tonight suggest that di Maria is on the verge of a £50m move to Old Trafford.

Whilst di Maria is the big name signing that United fans have been crying out for all summer, manager van Gaal has set his sights on another transfer target - Nigel de Jong.

The former Manchester City midfielder, 29, left the Premier League in August 2012 for a move to Italy with AC Milan, but it's fair to say that City have missed the Dutchman's physical presence in midfield, hence their signing of Porto's Fernando this summer.

De Jong played a key role in van Gaal's Netherlands side at this summer's World Cup, and his familiarity with the 63-year-old's 3-4-1-2 system could be key to the interest from United, who have been lacking some bite in midfield - which was particularly evident against Swansea, who kept the ball at will with little pressure on the ball.

Reports tonight state that van Gaal wants to bring de Jong to Old Trafford with him, and has instructed chief executive Ed Woodward to pay AC Milan's £8m asking price in order to work with the former Ajax and Hamburg anchor man once again.

It's believed that De Jong's age is something that the owners - the Glazer family - are allegedly uncomfortable about, given that he turns 30 in November, with the hierarchy preferring to look for younger players such as Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Rojo. Van Gaal is adamant that de Jong poses the necessarily attributes to push United forward, with a physical presence desperately required.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch