Lazio have failed to match the asking price for Stefan de Vrij, giving Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal a new sense of hope that he could still be successful in his pursuit of the Feyenoord defender.
This information comes courtesy of reports from Italy cited by The Daily Express, which claim that Serie A outfit Lazio - believed to be De Vrij's destination of choice - have not offered the full £7.5 million for his services and remain £2 million short of doing so.
If Manchester United could successfully gazump their rivals in the race for De Vrij, it is easy to see how the Netherlands international - who featured in every game for his country under Van Gaal at this summer's World Cup - would fit in at Old Trafford.
With the club having already bid farewell to Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic this summer, Patrice Evra's impending move to Serie A champions Juventus will leave Manchester United desperately short of quality options in defence.
While 22-year-old De Vrij - primarily a centre-back who has spent his entire senior career to date in the Eredivisie at De Kuip - obviously lacks experience, he is incredibly versatile and his adaptability and ability to operate successfully in a variety of different defensive formations could prove invaluable to Van Gaal in his first season in the Premier League.
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Van Gaal admission
Lazio's pursuit of De Vrij does not appear to be running particularly smoothly. However, with such a small sum standing in the way of a potential agreement, Manchester United would be wise to move quickly if they do want to land the player for themselves.
This would be at odds with Van Gaal's recent admission regarding transfers, however, with the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss having admitted during his media unveiling on Thursday that he could spend up to four weeks assessing his current squad before venturing back into the market.
By then, it may already be too late in the case of De Vrij and several other of Manchester United's preferred targets.
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