Nigel de Jong

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Report: DC United pursuing Nigel de Jong

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DC United is aching to improve its midfield, and is apparently aiming to land one of the league’s bigger busts to do it.

Granted Nigel de Jong wasn’t really in the league long enough to be considered a massive bust — we’re talking six months — but the reckless-tackling midfielder did manage to apologize to Stu Holden for breaking his leg hours before almost breaking Darlington Nagbe’s leg.

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That said, there’s little doubt that de Jong is an upgrade over DC’s current unit, and he’s known as a good locker room guy, which fits with their plans, according to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff.

From The Washington Post:

One source said United is “not writing off this season” but recognizes a playoff berth is almost out of the question. In addition to de Jong, the club has extended offers for a second designated player as part of an effort to begin the rebuilding process right away.

Goff also included a nugget that DC tried to land Wayne Rooney earlier this summer.

De Jong has been at Galatasaray since leaving LA, and he has not been a strong contributor according to WhoScored.com. That said, he’s landed better than 90 percent of his passes and only a trio of yellow cards.

But forgetting tactics and even potentially landing some more butts in the seats, why? DC has lost six-straight and sits 14 points out of a playoff spot. Maybe it’d be worth showing their diehard supporters that they care enough to splash the money, and perhaps there’s another piece in the midfield that would make De Jong work for the Black-and-Red.

Two reasons we’d like to see it work out and the first is that Ben Olsen seems like a super decent guy and DC has made season-ending runs as recently as last year. The second is that the petty “Salute to De Jong” video the league put online after he left for Galatasaray, a compilations of his fouls and poor moments, would become next level hilarious.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

Reports: Nigel de Jong preparing to leave LA Galaxy for Galatasaray

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Multiple reports across both the United States and the Netherlands have claimed Nigel de Jong is close to a move to Turkish giants Galatasaray.

A report by AD writer Maarten Wijffles states that De Jong is currently in the country for talks. However, while L.A. Times writer Keith Baxter confirms that a deal is in progress, he claims the player is still currently situated in the United States and has not left for Turkey yet.

According to reports in Turkey, Galatasaray began its interest in De Jong only recently, when Newcastle enforcer Cheick Tiote apparently failed a medical. Other reports citing sources with Newcastle and the player have disputed this, saying talks instead broke down over personal terms.

De Jong had only joined Los Angeles at the end of the January transfer window, moving from A.C. Milan after the termination of his contract. The 31-year-old Dutchman made 18 appearances for the Galaxy and did not score a goal.

Between Tiote and De Jong, the Turkish club is clearly targeting a certain style of player. De Jong has been known throughout his career as a midfield enforcer, sometimes on the border of dirty play, and that did not change during his short time in Major League Soccer. He made several cringe-worthy tackles, including one in April on Darlington Nagbe that caused many to fear for Nagbe’s career until it was revealed he suffered just a sprained knee. Another in early July earned De Jong a straight red card against Vancouver in early July.

The Dutchman was thought to be taking over Steven Gerrard‘s Designated Player spot next year after his retirement at the end of the current season, but De Jong’s departure means the Galaxy could have an open DP slot next season.

MLS commish Garber criticizes Arena for comments on de Jong tackle

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NEW YORK (AP) Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber criticized Galaxy coach Bruce Arena for alleging the league and media caused “hysteria” over a tackle by Los Angeles midfielder Nigel de Jong that injured Portland attacker Darlington Nagbe.

De Jong received a yellow card from referee Allen Chapman during the April 10 match, and the league last week suspended de Jong for three games. The MLS disciplinary committee called the play “egregious and reckless.”

Before the suspension, Arena was quoted on the team’s website as saying de Jong “has a reputation that precedes him.” He added “if that was any other player in that tackle, it would not have received the hysteria that it has” and went on to say “hysteria is the fault of social media. It’s the fault of people in MLS … and the journalism.”

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“It was a really irresponsible comment to make,” Garber said Thursday after meeting with the Associated Press Sports Editors. “To think that a league office or our broadcast partners would try to position something in a way to inflame a situation is just absurd.”

De Jong broke the legs of American midfielder Stuart Holden and Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa in 2010, the same year he kicked Spain’s Xabi Alonso in the chest during the 2010 World Cup final.

Arena said the tackle of Nagbe was worthy of a yellow card or possible a red. Garber thinks the 31-year-old de Jong won’t make another rash tackle.

“He needs to understand, as I think he does, that there’s no place for tackles like that on our field,” Garber said.

Nagbe, who made his U.S. national team debut in November, sustained a sprained his left ankle and has missed the Timbers’ last two games. He is back in full training this week.

Garber was disappointed Chapman didn’t give Nagbe a red card but praised the official’s other work this season.

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“We realize it’s an imperfect sport,” he said. “It’s part of what creates the drama and the water-cooler talk and it’s part of the beauty of the game. This is not an exclusive issue. I watch games all week long and there are similar missed calls in every league and at the highest level, from the World Cup on down to junior soccer.”

Galaxy midfielder De Jong suspended three matches for Nagbe challenge

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There was always a suspension looming, it was just a question of length.

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The MLS Discipline Committee handed down a three-match ban to LA Galaxy midfielder Nigel de Jong on Friday, after his unfair challenge on Darlington Nagbe of the Portland Timbers.

The former Dutch international was shown a yellow card in the 73rd minute of Sunday’s 2-1 Galaxy win, where Nagbe was forced out of the match because of an ankle injury sustained by the tackle. The U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder needed a wheel chair to exit the game because he wasn’t able to put weight on the injured ankle/foot.

With the suspension, De Jong will miss the Galaxy’s upcoming matches against the Houston Dynamo, Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City. The Galaxy return to the field on Friday, when they travel to BBVA Compass Stadium to take on Houston.

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