The one player Manchester United must sign before the opening day of the season

Stefan De Vrij

The start of the Premier League season is less than one month away - who do Manchester United need to sign before the campaign kicks off?

The dismal David Moyes era is over at Old Trafford, with Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal now in charge having led his country to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Brazil this summer. The club have already signed Southampton left back Luke Shaw and Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera as they look to improve on last season's seventh place finish, but more needs to be done in the coming weeks.

Whilst Shaw's arrival helps the United defence recover from the losses of experienced mainstays Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, van Gaal still needs to bring in at least one centre back to replace the long-serving partnership of Vidic and Ferdinand in the heart of the United defence.

There is still plenty of money van Gaal to spend on reinforcements, and whilst Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen has been strongly linked with a move to United, the club should be aiming higher than the third choice centre back of a top four rival – and their top target should be a player who van Gaal work with at the World Cup.

Feyenoord defender Stefan de Vrij has seen his reputation grow and grow over the past 12 months, and particularly after his displays in Brazil this summer. The 22-year-old featured alongside Ron Vlaar and Bruno Martins Indi in van Gaal's three-man back line, and played far beyond his years with a number of mature, composed performances.

Serie A side Lazio are also looking to sign the centre back, but won't meet Feyenoord's £10m asking price. Considered as the best centre back in the Eredivisie, de Vrij has a bright future ahead of him, and United should certainly be looking to pay the £10m for him rather than a similar fee for Vermaelen.

He isn't the big name that United fans want, but he represents good value for money based on his displays at the World Cup, and would be solid contributor for years to come - which is more than can be said for Vermaelen.

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