Manchester United have been dealt a blow in their alleged pursuit of Ron Vlaar after the Aston Villa defender was linked with a £6 million move to AS Roma.
The Daily Star reports how the 29-year-old centre-back is being lined up by the Serie 'A' giants in a cut-price deal because he has just 12 months remaining on his current contract at Villa Park.
Vlaar was one of Louis van Gaal's star performers for Holland at the World Cup in Brazil this summer, helping his country to a third place finish, and that's why the new Red Devils boss has perhaps been linked with an attempt to lure him to Old Trafford.
It's unlikely the Dutchman's prospective arrival would excite many Manchester United supporters, but with the club in desperate need of central defensive reinforcements following the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, he could prove to be a smart addition to the squad.
The impending departure of vice-captain Patrice Evra to Juventus also leaves Van Gaal short on experience at the back, and might turn to Vlaar to bring in an authoritative figure to help marshal the Manchester United defence in 2014/15.
Thomas Vermaelen has also been mentioned for a possible switch to Old Trafford, but with Manchester United unwilling to meet Arsenal's £12 million valuation or part with any players as has been requested by Arsene Wenger, a deal doesn't look like being reached.
However, if Manchester United do want to sign Vlaar then they will have to make a decision quickly, as Rudi Garcia steps up his attempts to tempt the Aston Villa man to Italy.
With question marks surrounding Mehdi Benatia's long-term future at Stadio Olimpico the Serie 'A' coach is on a quest to find a suitable replacement, and identified one of the World Cup's unsung heroes as a value for money acquisition.
Villa boss Paul Lambert is planning to offer Vlaar new terms to extend his stay in the Midlands, and is also hopeful of agreeing deals with Gabby Agbonlahor and Fabian Delph in a bid to see off rival interest from a number of suitors.