If a report from FC Inter News is believed to be true, Aston Villa are weighing up a move for Stefan de Vrij amid the growing uncertainty over his Nerazzurri future. The veteran Dutchman will be a free agent next summer and the Villans must battle it out against Atletico Madrid and Leicester City who are also keeping close eyes on the centre-back.
While the 30-year-old Netherlands international is happy to extend his stay at Inter, the Serie A giants are yet to match his wage demands. De Vrij has kept the door open for further negotiations, but a January transfer could still be on the cards if the player and his employers fail to agree on terms.
The Dutch defender progressed through the academy ranks of VV Spirit and Feyenoord before breaking into the latter’s first-team squad. He left Feyenoord for Lazio in 2014 and went on to make 118 appearances till his contract expired in June 2018. De Vrij joined the Black and Blues prior to the 2018-19 campaign and his resolute display earned him a key status in the heart of Inter’s backline. With 181 outings across competitions, he proved his excellence as well as quality alongside Milan Škriniar.
Why Aston Villa Must Get The Deal Done
Aston Villa, on the other hand, are aiming for a resurgence under Unai Emery. Back-to-back wins before the Word Cup break helped them climb up the league ladder, but they must maintain this momentum to claim a respectable league finish by the closure of the ongoing term.
Villa have been unlucky with injuries. Their high-profile summer signing Diego Carlos had to undergo surgery after an Achilles tendon rupture in his second game. Former boss Steven Gerrard was forced to rely on the vulnerable central defensive pairing of Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings and the situation remains the same considering the mediocrity of Calum Chambers and Jan Bednarek.
However, it won’t be a straightforward transfer chase for the claret and blue. Atletico Madrid would be more desperate to have De Vrij in their ranks, particularly after a dreadful start to their campaign. Only José María Giménez and Stefan Savić are there as the regular centre-backs with Felipe expected to part ways given Wolves’ interest in the Brazilian.
Emery’s contacts and reputation should keep the Villans relevant in this transfer hunt, but the project at Villa Park needs to be clear and ambitious enough to fascinate someone of De Vrij’s stature. It would be a massive boost for them if a deal could be struck in the coming days.