Manchester United line up former City man Nigel de Jong in £8m move

United Chief Executive Ed Woodward is said to be hard at work on a potential deal for the 29-year-old former Manchester City favourite

Manchester United are plotting a surprise move for former Manchester City hardman Nigel de Jong.

United have held talks with the De Jong's representatives over the possibility of his moving to Old Trafford in time for the new season.

Louis van Gaal is a known admirer of the Dutch midfielder's destructive talents, having seen him at close quarters for two years as boss of the Netherlands.

He reserved special praise for De Jong following the Netherlands' 3-2 World Cup defeat of Australia.

"I don’t like singling out players, but Nigel de Jong was inspirational," said Van Gaal following the victory.

It is understood that De Jong's interest has been piqued by the chance of an early reunion with Van Gaal - and that United Chief Executive Ed Woodward has been working hard to finalise a deal.

Video: The latest transfer news

De Jong spent three successful years in the heart of the Manchester City midfield, becoming a firm fan favourite - and it was something of a surprise when he departed in August 2012 for AC Milan.

The former Ajax and Hamburg man has made 45 appearances over two seasons in a struggling Rossoneri side and would be available for around £8 million.

Louis van Gaal is an avowed admirer of Nigel de Jong

Read more: Van Gaal to be shocked by intensity of Premier League says Rodgers
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Van Gaal's pursuit of De Jong could signal a temporary halt in his chase for another Dutch international midfielder.

The signing of De Jong would allow United to make it to the January transfer window with sufficient midfield cover before an approach for reported target Kevin Strootman.

Roma recently placed an enormous price tag on Strootman, with boss Rudi Garcia informing United that they would have to pay £79 million to secure the services of a player on his way back from a serious knee injury.

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