Lazio announced Stefan de Vrij will be a free agent in June, so Juventus, Inter, Liverpool, Napoli, Manchester City, Manchester United and Barcelona step up.
“Lazio have withdrawn the proposal we made for a new contract to De Vrij,” director of sport Igli Tare told Mediaset Premium ahead of tonight’s Serie A match with Verona.
“We are withdrawing for reasons that we will explain later on. It was a choice made after many months of negotiations, but there is also a limit to how things went.
“He has been an exemplary professional and we thank him for that as well as what he’ll do until the end of the season. He gave a lot to the club, just as we gave a great deal to him, but our paths will divide in June.”
Now the race is on to agree terms with the centre-back who just turned 26 last week and has 33 senior caps for the Netherlands.
Inter have been the favourites for quite some time, reportedly doing the groundwork for months, but they face a rather large problem: qualifying for the Champions League.
If they don’t finish in the top four, then De Vrij may well go elsewhere in order to make the step up in his career.
Juventus were the first to really pay attention to the De Vrij situation last summer, but with Andrea Barzagli agreeing a contract extension, Giorgio Chiellini, Medhi Benatia and Daniele Rugani in the side, they would be over-staffed in that area.
Milan, similarly, have a solid choice from Leonardo Bonucci and Alessio Romagnoli, and have the same Champions League problem as Inter.
Napoli were linked with De Vrij in January and this move would make a lot of sense, as Raul Albiol has consistently been leaning towards a return to Spain.
They are currently top of the table and are heading for the Champions League next term.
Several Premier League clubs will step forward for De Vrij, above all Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, not to mention Antonio Conte’s Chelsea if David Luiz moves on.
Barcelona have been mentioned as an option in recent weeks, as there is a long history of Dutch players at Camp Nou, but he will demand regular playing time.
Atletico Madrid are outside alternatives if Jose Gimenez leaves this summer.
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