Stefan De Vrij’s contract situation at Lazio remains one of the biggest topics of conversation in the Italian football media these days, with articles written on the matter pretty much on a daily basis.
The vast majority of those are the club’s director of football, Igli Tare, claiming all parties are ‘nearly there’, but therein lies the issue: it still isn’t done.
This gives clubs around Europe the chance to sign him on a free, seeing as his current deal runs out in the summer, and Premier League sides, like Manchester United, are inevitably linked.
Gazzetta dello Sport throw the Red Devils back into the mix on Friday, describing them as one of the sides allegedly hovering around the Dutch centre-back and keeping tabs on his situation.
With already five players in the role at the club, bringing in a new central defender might not seem a priority right now, yet it might be something José Mourinho is thinking about.
While Eric Bailly, who is an undisputed starter when fit, and Victor Lindelöf, who was only signed last summer, appear to be safe for now, questions keep being asked about Chris Smalling’s, Phil Jones’ and Marcos Rojo’s long-term futures at the club.
Standout performances can be picked out for each of the aforementioned trio, yet their consistency remains an issue, meaning there’s every chance we might see a couple of sales in the summer.
This is where Stefan De Vrij, a potential free transfer comes in.
The 26-year-old is an experienced centre-back, who has excelled at Lazio in recent years and is widely considered a key member of the Serie A team.
Their desperation to tie him down, even for just an extra year, is a testament to this, but even if they do manage it, he won’t be all that expensive for a Premier League side.
SEG, his agency, are said to want a release clause of around €25m inserted in his new deal, which Lazio aren’t against, but it’s their demand for a huge commission that is holding up any official announcement.
This is an amount Manchester United could easily afford if they were to decide to bolster their defence with a consistent defender whose long-term injury issues appear to be behind him, especially if two of Smalling, Jones and Rojo were to leave in the summer.
Barcelona and Inter are also said to keeping an eye on De Vrij, providing some healthy competition for the Red Devils if the Holland international decides to leave Lazio at the end of the season.