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Van Gaal and United keen on former City man

53a6c1461bc4b_nigelFormer Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong could be set for a return to the Premier League, with reports on both the English and Italian media suggesting Louis Van Gaal has been so impressed with the 29-year-old’s performances at the World Cup that he’s looking to bring the midfielder to Old Trafford this summer.

De Jong is the latest Dutchman to be linked with a move to Old Trafford and Italian sports newspaper Corriere dello Sport last week claimed the 29-year-old had emerged a surprise target for United, while today’s Daily Express confirms United are set to open talks with AC Milan.

United desperately need to bolster their midfield option and while de Jong might not seem the obvious option as he’s neither what could be considered a marquee signing nor the creative midfielder United have been lacking for years, the former Manchester City man could prove to be a very astute signing, particularly for a fee of £10m..

For almost a decade United have lacked a midfielder capable to impose himself physically in the middle of the park, an area where United have been repeatedly bullied over the last couple of seasons, with neither Michael Carrick nor Tom Cleverley particularly suited to sitting in front of the back four with the task of shielding the back four.

As the more or less protracted courting of Arturo Vidal goes to show, United have clearly identified this as an area that needs overhauling this summer and while de Jong is less technically gifted than the Chilean midfielder, he provides bags of dynamism and energy and his very disciplined from a tactical point of view.

Van Gaal, deploys de Jong as defensive midfielder, either alongside more creative midfielders such Wesley Sneijder and Rafael Van der Vaart in a three-man midfield when the Holland manager opts for a 4-3-3 formation or alongside Jonathan de Guzman in a five-man midfield, as was the case during Holland’s 3-2 win against Australia, when the Oranje were set out with a 3-5-2 formation.

De Jong’s reputation for being a midfield destroyer is such that his passing ability – he averaged over 90% pass completion rate in 33 Serie A games last season – is often swiftly overlooked as is his distribution, a key factor in Van Gaal’s game-plan, for the Holland manager wants even his defensive midfielders to be comfortable with the ball at their feet.

Having spent three and half seasons at City, de Jong would know exactly what to expect in the Premier League, he wouldn’t need time to settle either and with Ander Herrera set to provide the creative spark United’s midfield has been missing, a brute like de Jong would complement the Spaniard to perfection.