Manchester United may be handed a major blow with reports suggesting summer target Nigel de Jong is set to extend his contract with Serie A club AC Milan.
According to talkSPORT, Louis van Gaal had earmarked the midfielder as the perfect cover for his defence and to break up play in the middle of the park.
However, it is believed that the Dutch midfielder's representatives have scheduled a meeting with Milan chief Adriano Galliani to extend his contract, which currently expires at the end of the season.
The 29-year-old midfielder was a key member of van Gaal's Netherlands squad at this summer's World Cup and played an important role in helping the Dutch team finish third in the tournament.
De Jong had revealed earlier in the summer that he is still keen to continue to play abroad rather than return to the Netherlands, after he confirmed that he had received an offer from his former club Ajax.
"Never say never, it would be very nice to return to Ajax. Expectations are very high when you go back to an old side. I need to stay careful and see how I feel. Ajax tried to sign me in the summer but I said 'no'," De Jong said, as quoted in the Express.
"I'm 29 years old and in the best phase of my career. I feel mentally and physically stronger than ever. It's too early for a return to Holland. I want to play overseas for as long as possible," the Dutch international added.
Manchester United have been linked to various midfielders in the transfer window. After failing to land primary target Arturo Vidal in the summer, it is widely reported that van Gaal will make a move for AS Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman during the January transfer window.