Manchester United’s and Chelsea’s need for a new centre-back have been well documented this season, and Gazzetta dello Sport believe one player in particular could end up in the middle of a bidding war.

That man is Lazio’s Stefan De Vrij.

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The 24-year-old defender, who signed for the Serie A club two-and-a-half years ago from Feyenoord, missed nearly all of last season with a serious knee injury, but with 12 appearances to his name this campaign, doubts about his fitness have now been dispelled.

Antonio Conte and José Mourinho would, however, need to spend a lot of money to get the Dutchman, as Lotito and Lazio value their star defender at over €40m.

De Vrij, who could have joined Manchester United instead of Lazio when Louis Van Gaal was in charge, chose the Italian side as Serie A was ‘the best’ place for a defender to improve, yet Gazzetta believe this is all very likely to come to an end in June, as both Conte and Mourinho consider him a ‘top-level defender’.

This isn’t the first time the player has been linked with these clubs, with Conte attempting to sign the former Feyenoord man towards the end of the transfer window, eventually settling for David Luiz, while back in December, Il Messaggero reported the player was ‘ready to say yes’ to José Mourinho.

There’s no doubt the two clubs are keeping an eye on his progress, but Lazio are unlikely to agree to a sale in January due to his importance in Simone Inzaghi’s current plans

Next summer it is, then.