Manchester United's hopes of signing Ron Vlaar this summer have been dealt a blow after the Aston Villa defender became the subject of a players-plus-cash offer from Tottenham Hotspur, who hope to beat their Premier League rivals to the Dutchman's signature.
The Daily Mirror reports how the 29-year-old has seen his stock soar after an impressive showing for Holland at the World Cup in Brazil, prompting admiring glances from a host of rivals clubs including Southampton.
New Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal, who took charge of the Netherlands in South America earlier this summer, is keen to add the experienced centre-back to his Old Trafford ranks as he continues his search for at least one replacement for departed duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
The former Feyenoord star has spent the past two seasons playing at Villa Park, but could leave the Midlands club in favour of a switch to a more highly regarded European contender.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is so desperate to lure Vlaar to White Hart Lane that he's willing to offer Lewis Holtby and Michael Dawson to Aston Villa in part-exchange, as well as some money to sweeten the deal.
That Tottenham package is likely to trump what Manchester United would be willing to offer, with Villa boss Paul Lambert likely to need to find a replacement for the soon-to-be-departing Dutch stopper.
Villa could sell
With just 12 months remaining on his current contract, Villa might be wise to sell this transfer window or risk losing the player on a Bosman free next summer, particularly while the club is continuing to operate under financial constraints as want-away owner Randy Lerner searches for a new buyer.
Vlaar's recent rise to prominence has been swift. Before the World Cup neither Manchester United nor Tottenham fans would've been excited about the prospect of acquiring his services, but both clubs are now in need of reinforcements in that area and would probably be happy to see him sign.
Southampton will hope that Vlaar's relationship with their new manager Ronald Koeman, who worked with the defender during his time in the Eredivisie with Feyenoord will give them a chance of securing the in-demand player's signature, as they aim to find a replacement for Croatian star Dejan Lovren who looks set to sign for Liverpool.