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Premier League Transfer News - [football] direct news

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Man City warms to de Jong return

Man City warms to de Jong return

Exclusive

by Ignatius J Reilly

29th November 2013 9:28am GMT

  

Manchester City players would welcome the return of Nigel de Jong if the Blues decide to launch a bid to bring the Dutchman back to England.

The tough-tackling midfielder departed the Etihad Stadium for AC Milan in the summer of 2012 after failing to agree a contract extension at the club.

A season-ending injury ruined his first campaign in Italy but he has returned to full fitness and impressed at the San Siro.

However, with many close friends still on the books at City and an excellent relationship with the supporters, de Jong is on the radar with Manuel Pellegrini's side desperately short of options in central midfield.

A source said: "Nigel was massively influential in the dressing room and was a big loss in that respect. Many of his friends remain at the club and they would be delighted to see him back 'home' come January."

Since de Jong's exit City have attempted to replace him with Javi Garcia, who has struggled for form, and Jack Rodwell, who has suffered a string of injuries.

Fernandinho is Yaya Toure's regular partner in the engine room, but in the absence of either of those players, Pellegrini's only realistic options are to use James Milner out of position or select Garcia or Rodwell.

City are on good terms with Milan directors, having sold de Jong, Robinho and Mario Balotelli to the Italian giants.

Read more Manchester City transfer news.