Tuesday February 20 2018
Everybody could do with De Vrij

After hearing Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij will be leaving Lazio as a free agent, several top clubs line up for his signature, writes Matthew Santangelo

Just minutes before Lazio’s game with Verona kicked off at the Stadio Olimpico, director of sport Igli Tare announced out of the blue that they had withdrawn their contract offer to Stefan de Vrij. The two sides have been jockeying over a new deal for months, but were unable to come to a settlement reportedly due to the sum of his release clause. 

It’s a massive blow for the club, who could easily have commanded €12m in the January transfer window, but put their faith in his desire to stay, or at the very least to give them more protection. Now that we know he will not be staying at the Stadio Olimpico for the 2018-19 season, we ask where will he take his talents? 

Starting with England, Manchester United will certainly have their name in the mix for his signature, especially if Jose Mourinho looks to upgrade over the likes of Chris Smalling. Certainly, the Red Devils could match any wage demands, but will face competition from Chelsea and Arsenal, who could use some added muscle in the back as well. The Premier League has plenty of appeal for a player like De Vrij who wants to play on the biggest stages and be paid handsomely, so he will have no shortage of interest from England. 

Outside of the Premier League, Barcelona most definitely will be eyeing defensive reinforcement this summer. The Spanish giants still rely heavily on Gerard Pique to carry the back line, but Ernesto Valverde does need someone who can spare the World Cup winner a breather, as he is 31. Thomas Vermaelen is not the long-term solution to play with one of Europe’s best in Samuel Umtiti, and promising Colombian Yerry Mina still needs to grow after his January move. An optimal target to bridge the gap here would be De Vrij, especially since Barcelona need to keep an eye on their finances after spending big last summer on Ousmane Dembélé and last month on Philippe Coutinho. 

Moving down towards the French capital, Paris Saint-Germain offer De Vrij a fantastic landing spot at the Parc des Princes. The opportunity for silverware each year is there, along with a beautiful place to live, but he would be a solid replacement for an ageing Thiago Silva, whose best years are likely behind him. 

Perhaps the most logical career move for De Vrij would be to stay in Italy, where he has become the top central defender he is today. Starting with Juventus, the leaders of the free transfer operations immediately give him the chance to compete for a Treble each year, while being able to slide into Max Allegri’s backline without much of a hitch. The Dutchman’s ability to play with the ball in possession means the Bianconeri’s system will move the way it should. He also gives Juventus a brawny presence in the back, both in the air and in regular encounters in their own half.

Yet, while Juventus would be a match made in heaven for many reasons, it’s hard to predict his role. Andrea Barzagli is in the twilight of his career, but is still an occasional fixture. Giorgio Chiellini remains a fundamental pillar and while creeping up in age, is still expected to play a large role next season. From there, you start looking at a crowded defensive group that already included Medhi Benatia and Daniele Rugani, but will also welcome a top player in Mattia Caldara. A move to Turin depends on what role Allegri can give De Vrij, which leads to the next and perhaps most logical spot: Inter.

The Nerazzurri are desperately looking for help in the back and Luciano Spalletti’s words prove that. Milan Skriniar has broken out in a big way this year after his move from Sampdoria, becoming one of Serie A’s top defenders overnight. However, Inter may struggle to keep him long term as Manchester City and several others covet him. Whether Inter can actually shoot down massive bids for Skriniar this summer could come down to them qualifying for Europe. Ideally, Spalletti would love to upgrade Joao Miranda with De Vrij and have him complement Skriniar’s colossus presence and ball playing abilities, but that remains to be seen. 

Napoli are another intriguing option, as Raul Albiol remains tempted by a return to Spain to see out his career. They already know De Vrij too well, seeing as he scored against them both home and away this season. Aurelio De Laurentiis keeps a tight grip on the purse-strings, but amid a bidding war for a free agent, might not be able to haggle image rights without losing his man.

De Vrij fits into basically any top club looking for a defender ready for a grander stage. However, some clubs will be able to offer him the complete bundle of sporting demands, wages and opportunity to win trophies. Others like Inter may need to secure a top four finish to sweeten the deal to have a chance. In any case, his skill set translates well anywhere. His positional sense, physical and technical qualities, and prime age make him a hot commodity by default this summer, considering he is free and ready for the spotlight.  

Have your say...
He would be best off leaving Italy. The top clubs can't offer him any sort of playing time. Juve is stacked with CBs and Milan has plenty top ones already. Milan can't even give Musacchio regular playing time, and Bonucci and Romagnoli are starters.

Why would he go to Juve to be a rotation player? That makes absolutely no sense.

He'll go to a team where he can actually start. I'd love him at Milan as I'm a Milan fan, but I'll admit we wouldn't give him a starting position.
on the 23rd February, 2018 at 7:17am
They say that De Vrij has an agreement with Inter.
Who knows?

If he want to win he could join one from Barcelona, Juventus, PSG and one of the Manchester Clubs.

Juve also has the card ROMAGNA to play in the near future and could still clinch a deal with Schalke to sign Howedes.

So......... the duo BENATIA/CHIELLINI could be confirmed.
on the 21st February, 2018 at 9:51am
From a selfish Juventus point of view, there could be a few reasonably sound solutions, if it was at all possible to sign the CB.

One would be to get De Vrij and sell Rugani for a rumoured 40mil. Top move if really possible to do.

Sign De Vrij, and with his approval, perhaps not so sure, loan him out to a big Club in France or Portugal.

Rebuild the difensive pack this summer and make the decision to go with a Benatia/De Vrij partenership in the heart of the defensive pack.

on the 20th February, 2018 at 10:21pm
He's not joining Juve. They can't offer him the sort of regular status he deserves. Although Barzagli is on the brink of retirement, there're still a host of top class CBs waiting for their chances, especially Rugani and Caldara. Inter seems the most likely destination in Italy, otherwise he would go to PL. MU, Chelsea, Arsenal all could make use of his skills set, and afford any wage demand too. I see him playing in England next season.
on the 20th February, 2018 at 3:53pm
A total sell out. What a fool to leave Lazio. He could be playing champions league here but greedy agents want more money in their pockets.

He will be a forgotten footballer with no morals!
on the 20th February, 2018 at 3:26pm
Ironically, the team in Italy that would use him the most is Roma, but we all now, that won't happen! Much easier to switch between Milanese or Torinese clubs than it ever will be between the Roman clubs....I see him going to La Liga or PL simply because of the higher wages and the guarantee of silverware. IF Napoli are ambitious and want to win in Europe, and not just in Italy, ADL, should have already signed him up...
on the 20th February, 2018 at 12:50pm
If De Vrij ends up going to Juve I hope to at least see Rugani reunite with Sarri at Napoli.
Chiellini, Barzagli, Benatia, Caldara, De Vrij... Rugani needs playing time desperately but Juve is willing to provide what he needs atm.
It's a deal that would benefit all parties.
Rugani-Koulibaly partnership could be beast.
on the 20th February, 2018 at 10:45am
it is amazing that lazio let this happen not to lock him down to a new contract or sell is straight up incompetence.

Still he has afforded himself a amazing opportunity if the reports are accurate to join any of the top european clubs. personally i think he will end up in england probably for chelsea maybe liverpool arsenal seems highly unlikely.
on the 20th February, 2018 at 10:11am
It would make sense for him to stay in Serie A, as this experience is invaluable. I expect him to go to Inter, as he would be a guaranteed starter over there. I read that the offer is 4m/year, which is high for a Serie A defender. If he likes the lifestyle in Italy, he should probably stay and prove his worth at a top club.
on the 20th February, 2018 at 7:18am
Juve have 6 CB's if he signs, so no point going there to play occasionally.

Milan have 3 good ones, and don't need a 4th luxury CB.

Roma could do with him, but moving to a rival and Roma being a selling club may not appeal to him.

Inter and Napoli are the 2 that really need him. Albiol is ok but not up to it in the CL, and Miranda is aging.

But the epl is popular to Dutch players so don't be surprised to see him go for the big wages.

Inter and Napoli need to offer him a deal immediately.
on the 20th February, 2018 at 4:26am
I would be happy to see him join Juve, but the move wouldn't make much sense. Unless he's willing to be rotated during next season.

He won't go to Napoli or inter. Unless they lure him in with cash. So that rules out Napoli. But watch while ADL blames Juve for failing to sign him.

I think it's either Juve or the EPL.
on the 20th February, 2018 at 2:34am

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