Liverpool Transfer News: Nigel De Jong Would Be Great Add for Brendan Rodgers

Abbey ChaseContributor IIIJanuary 21, 2014

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 25:  Nigel De Jong of AC Milan celebrates a victory at the end of the Serie A match between AC Milan and Juventus FC at San Siro Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

With the January transfer period deadline approaching, Liverpool have continued to eye AC Milan midfielder Nigel De Jong as a potential addition to the Reds.

The hunt for De Jong picked up momentum after Liverpool’s game on Saturday, in which midfielder Lucas Leiva was injured in a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa.

De Jong’s arrival in Liverpool is somewhat contingent on the extent of Leiva’s injury, but De Jong would be a valuable acquisition for Brendan Rogers in his own right.

Liverpool have had a solid season, currently ranked fourth in the Premier League, but the addition of De Jong in the midfield could be both necessary to replace Leiva and an important move to help propel Liverpool to the top of the league.

No stranger to the Premier League, De Jong played for Manchester City for four seasons but failed to make a noticeable impression on the squad before he joined AC Milan in August 2012.

But that doesn’t mean De Jong wouldn’t be a worthwhile acquisition now. The 29-year-old has had 18 appearances and three assists for AC Milan this season following an Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him for several months shortly after moving to Milan.

Furthermore, AC Milan have struggled mightily this season, potentially adding to De Jong’s motivation to leave. His exit would be a noticeable loss in San Siro, and whether newly appointed coach Clarence Seedorf will entertain the possibility of De Jong leaving is up for debate.

REGGIO NELL'EMILIA, ITALY - JULY 23:  Carlos Alberto Tevez (R) of Juventus competes with Nigel de Jong of AC Milan during the TIM Preseason Tournament between US Sassuolo, Juventus and AC Milan at Mapei Stadium - Citta del Tricolore on July 23, 2013 in Re
Dino Panato/Getty Images

De Jong doesn’t litter the stats sheet like other midfielders, but the defensive midfielder has a solid presence in the backfield, bolstering his team with ball-winning tenacity and steady passing.

On a team struggling to put together a successful season, De Jong has been a key defensive asset for Milan, with 47 interceptions landing him in third place in that stat in Serie A. To add to that, De Jong has accumulated a 92 percent pass success rate this season to add to his defensive prowess.

As Daniel Gutman from the Rossoneri Blog argues, De Jong this season has been, “what holds together the pathetic excuse for a defense Milan have.”

With a versatile game in the backfield, De Jong would complement Liverpool’s strong frontline led by Luis Suarez. A strong midfield presence from De Jong would also be a valuable presence alongside Jordan Henderson, who reiterated Liverpool’s need for a stronger defensive presence after Saturday’s game against Aston Villa. 

Liverpool have conceded five goals in the last two games against Aston Villa and Stoke City, two teams ranked well below Liverpool in the League.

If Leiva’s injury proves serious, Rogers’ acquisition of De Jong could become more of a necessity than a perk, but after being hampered by injury and a string of underwhelming seasons, De Jong is back on the rise and would be a highly valuable addition to the Liverpool squad going into the second half of the season.