Stefan de Vrij had a good 2014 World Cup campaign for the Netherlands and was inevitably linked with a move to Manchester United this summer because of the ‘Louis van Gaal connection’.
The 22-year-old central defender was a key component in then Oranje coach Van Gaal’s team, as the European side progressed to the semi-finals of the tournament in Brazil.
|Goals||Duel Won||Aerial Won||Won Tackle||Interception Won||Accurate Pass||Apps||Mins|
|Stefan de Vrij||1||53||18||20||25||324||7||677|
Having established himself as one of the best players in the Eredivisie with Feyenoord, it was clear that after the World Cup the centre-back was going to move out of the Netherlands.
And it has happened so, only it is Lazio who have secured his signature, not United.
Following weeks of speculation on the future of the youngster, earlier this week it was confirmed by Lazio that they have signed him from Feyenoord for a reported transfer fee of €9 million (£7.1m).
Described by Lazio’s director of communications, Stefano Di Martino, as ‘the best defender at the World Cup’, De Vrij has now revealed why he decided to move to Serie A.
'A lot of people [gave me advice] because this is a crucial moment in my career', he told AD, as reported by Goal.com.
‘(Kevin) Strootman and (Nigel) De Jong gave me a good picture of Serie A and [former Feyenoord striker] Graziano Pelle was also very positive. Also Louis van Gaal thought it was a good step'.
It is clear that De Vrij did discuss his future with Van Gaal and is happy with his decision to join Lazio, but could he still end up at Old Trafford in the near future?
De Vrij says that he wants to ‘progress’ with his defending and believes that he can ‘become a better defender’ in Serie A. Which is all very good, but once he has taken his game to a higher level, would Lazio be able to keep a hold of him?
It is not uncommon for players to move to big European clubs after just one season at their new teams (James Rodriguez switching from AS Monaco to Real Madrid last month is a prime example), and the 22-year-old could still find himself in United colours in the not-too-distant future.
Perhaps Van Gaal feels that at this moment in time De Vrij needs to add more facets to his game, and that playing in Italy will help him do that.
But would the United boss not be tempted into making a move next summer if his compatriot makes the ‘progress’ he wants to at Lazio this season?
Answers on a postcard, please.
Should Louis van Gaal have tried to sign Stefan de Vrij for Manchester United?