CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena confirmed on Tuesday that midfielder Nigel de Jong is currently in Turkey looking to finalize a deal with Galatasaray.
Various reports out of the Netherlands and the United States have linked De Jong to a move to the Turkish side ahead of the start of their 2016 campaign. De Jong has made 18 appearances for the Galaxy since joining the team in the offseason.
Arena told reporters that the deal was not yet complete, but admitted that talks are ongoing.
“Nigel is pursuing an opportunity with our blessing. It either happens or it doesn’t,” Arena said. “We have the greatest respect for Nigel. He’s been a terrific addition to our team. He’s a great professional and a great teammate. When healthy and given a chance to play in this league, he’s been good. His game against Vancouver was exceptional.”
If De Jong were to depart the Galaxy, Arena believes his team will miss the Dutchman’s presence, but admits that he has the personnel to continue to excel.
"Nigel's a very good player. We don't have an educated public to understand what he does, but he's been an important member of our team. We do have some depth. If we lose him, then we use our depth. We don’t have any Nigel de Jong’s here, but we have players that can play in that position,” Arena said. “You lose his ball-winning. He’s a pretty good passer. He’s very good at organizing his teammates around him. Not that others can’t do that job, but Nigel is a real pro at it.”