Heavily linked with a move this summer, Lazio chief Igli Tare has insisted the Serie A club are the frontrunners for the signature of Stefan de Vrij. Despite links to Manchester United, where he would potentially join the man who gave him his international debut in Louis van Gaal.
Under van Gaal, de Vrij has been a crucial cog in the defensive wheel at the World Cup, starting every game in the campaign. The centre back also scored in his side’s 5-1 victory over Spain, and is likely to start in the 3rd place play-off against Brazil on Saturday.
Once captaining his Feyernoord side, de Vrij has made over 150 appearances in all competitions at the age of just 22. With his impressive World Cup campaign, the Dutchman has become one of many sought-after players, and is expected to leave the Eredivisie this summer.
Manchester United join the likes of Lazio and United’s league rivals Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, however the link to van Gaal certain does United’s chances of capturing de Vrij no harm. After Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, who once formed a memorable and world class defensive partnership, have left the club to join Inter Milan and – imminently – Queen’s Park Rangers, van Gaal has set out to sign at least one centre back to fill the void.
Though Stefan de Vrij is not the only target of van Gaal’s in this position, his relatively low fee and solid World Cup campaign makes de Vrij a no-brainer. Mats Hummels could join the Dutchman as part of a centre back partnership, with Phil Jones also possibly slotting in if van Gaal opts for a 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 formation.
According to Lazio chief Igli Tare, that plan will not come to fruition as de Vrij has already stated he wants to join the Serie A outfit (courtesy of Sky Sports).
“Many things have been said and written about de Vrij and his transfer to United but this is not true,
“His agent has said clearly that he has never been to Manchester to meet with the English club. De Vrij’s will is to play in Lazio. Astori wants to come too, and we’re talking with Cagliari to find an agreement.”
In transfer windows, it is tough to know who to trust. According to Tare, United have made no contact with Stefan de Vrij, though some reports suggest that he is close to agreeing terms.