LvG praised his Netherlands player at the recent World Cup after his stellar performance against Australia, saying, as per Craddock: "I don’t like singling out players, but Nigel de Jong was inspirational."
Craddock explains that Van Gaal is happy with his current midfield options until Kevin Strootman returns from injury, when a potential January bid can be launched. However, Ed Woodward has reportedly been locked in talks with AC Milan over De Jong, and communications over his possible signing have gone well.
The 29-year-old would be United's third major signing of the summer after the arrivals of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera.
De Jong has a reputation as a battle-hardened individual, and he is the type of player United could utilise in the midterm. The Daily Mirror's Nooruddean Choudry recognised this and tweeted:
Anyway, I'd welcome De Jong at Old Trafford. He's far more than a mere thug. He was brilliant for City.— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) August 6, 2014
Despite Milan's disastrous season last year, the player performed well for his club, playing 33 times for the Rossoneri, as per WhoScored.com.
He continued his form into the World Cup in Brazil, as his country made the semi-finals of the tournament.
United have been targeting Arturo Vidal from Juventus, as per the Press Association (via The Guardian). But Van Gaal's concerns over the player's recent injuries look to have scuppered any potential deal.
De Jong would bring similar qualities to United but at a much cheaper price—and he is a player the new United boss knows very well.
Although De Jong and Vidal cannot be classed in the same bracket as footballers, the Dutchman would add steel and endeavour to United for the upcoming campaign.
Herrera looked impressive for the Red Devils in their pre-season tour of the U.S., and a partnership with De Jong would give LvG the solidity he needs from a 5-3-2.
Darren Fletcher also impressed on tour, but considering his fitness issues, United would want an additional midfielder with top-level experience.
At £8 million, the signing of De Jong would be a simple choice for United. He has Premier League know-how, and his aggression would make him a popular figure with United fans, despite his former allegiances to City.
Would Manchester United fans be happy signing a former Manchester City player?
He is still the right side of 30 years old, and there is plenty left in his tank. Milan are likely to go through a dramatic rebuilding process over the next 12 months, so a deal for the player could interest them at present.
De Jong would be a fine player for United and allow the forwards to concentrate on scoring goals. The Red Devils would be able to mount a serious attack on the Premier League title if they can tie the deal up before the end of the transfer window.