Manchester United’s pursuit of a top-quality central defender is certainly not a secret, as the club have already looked at various options like Manolas and Victor Lindelof. These players are expected to cost in excess of £40 million, making them a huge investment at a time when the club already splashed out more than £150 million on new players in the summer. At the other end of the scale, the club are also looking at options like Jose Fonte from Southampton. The 33-year-old could cost only around £7 million and may be seen as a stopgap solution.
Now, it seems that they are ready to switch away from Victor Lindelof, Manolas, and Jose Fonte. The club have been taking a hard look at Lazio defender Stefan De Vrij – as per the reports from Sportwitness (via Gazzetta Dello Sport). Signed from Feyenoord in the summer of 2014 for around €6 million, Stefan De Vrij has been making steady progress in the Lazio team, which is challenging for the Champions League places next season. Even though Lazio possesses one of the average defensive records in the top half of the Italian Serie A, De Vrij has received a lot of attention for his stellar performances.
At 24 years of age, he could offer the perfect blend of youth and experience. He will also not cost an extravagant £40 million in terms of transfer fees, as Lazio may be more than satisfied with a £25 million fee. The Dutch international certainly has the quality to play for a club like United.
He made his debut for the national team in 2012 and has since gone on to make 30 appearances. His ability to play in both sides of the centre back makes him a versatile name. Even though he has missed a fair number of league games this season, De Vrij certainly has the quality to play alongside an Eric Bailly or a Phil Jones.
This is not the first time United are taking a look at De Vrij as a potential option. The club were interested in the Lazio defender even from the days of Louis van Gaal. Yet, this may be the perfect time to sign the player given that his contract runs out in the summer of 2018. Manchester United may be prepared to gamble until the summer when they would be able to sign the player for even less considering that he would have only 12 months left on his contract.
Since moving to the club on a long-term contract, De Vrij has not been called for a contract renewal. This could be one of the key reasons behind the player looking for a move to a club where he would be made to feel more important.