Chelsea and Barcelona have reportedly joined the chase for Lazio defender Stefan De Vrij and are set to battle other suitors for the Dutchman in the summer.
According to Italian publication Gazzetta, Stefan De Vrij is sure to be a wanted man when the summer transfer window arrives. While the Lazio defender has already been on the radar of a few top clubs, Chelsea and Barcelona have both joined the chase as well.
Stefan De Vrij, at 26, looks to be entering the finest stage of his footballing career. The Dutchman has missed just one league game so far this season and has been a rock at the back while also contributing to Lazio’s attacking pedigree with 4 goals to his name.
There were reports of De Vrij being on the verge of signing a new deal at Lazio. But, the recent updates suggest that the player will be testing the waters of free agency, with his agent also stating that the player will not be signing a new contract at the club, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.
CONFIRMED: Lazio’s Stefan de Vrij is available to sign on a free transfer this summer.
Lazio director Igli Tare on the situation: “Our paths will divide in June.”
A high class defender on a free. Premier League clubs should be all over this. pic.twitter.com/OX63P7gMHo
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) February 19, 2018
This could be great news for the clubs that have expressed an interest in the 26-year-old, especially the new reported entrants – Chelsea and Barcelona.
Chelsea have Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz to fill the 3 options in the three-man defence. And with the inclusion of Ethan Ampadu in the first-team setup, the roster looks complete. But, Azpilicueta, Christensen and Luiz are all linked to potential moves in the summer.
Add to that the fact that Cahill has not exactly been consistent in the recent matches and there does appear to be room for one more addition to the roster. De Vrij is currently proving himself as a brilliant player at Lazio who can take over the role as the central defender in the three-man backline.
Thus, De Vrij is unlikely to take much time in order to adapt to the formation and Conte’s tactics, or a new manager, in case Conte does end up leaving in the summer.
Barcelona, on the other hand, have brought in Yerry Mina to offset the departure of Javier Mascherano. But, Gerard Pique has not exactly been lights out at the back, with Samuel Umtiti the only one Ernesto Valverde can rely upon as a quality presence in central defence so far this season.
De Vrij could be the man to take charge, especially, with the Dutchman seemingly entering the best years of a centre-back’s career.
There are other suitors as well. But, Barcelona and Chelsea could really make a case for themselves. The signing will also serve as an excellent piece of business for either club, with the player available on a free transfer at the end of the season.
It will be interesting to see where De Vrij ends up. But, one thing is certain, the 26-year-old is set to don the jersey of a European giant in the summer, be it Chelsea, Barcelona or some other club altogether.