Ron Vlaar has been told he would be a success at Manchester United by a former star at current club Aston Villa and that his performances for the Netherlands at the World Cup in Brazil proved he is able to produce on the biggest stage.
Vlaar was deployed at the centre of a back three for the Dutch as they managed to finish third at the tournament, with him being most widely lauded for his performance against Argentina in the semi-finals. He was sensational in the match, though missed a penalty in the shoot-out after the game ended goalless.
New man, new rumours
Van Gaal was confirmed as the man to be succeeding sacked David Moyes before the World Cup started and so there is little surprise that reports suggesting he may move for Vlaar after such a terrific tournament.
Now the former Feyenoord stalwart has been told by a former fan favourite of his current club, Aston Villa, that he would be more than comfortable fitting in at Old Trafford, were the move to be completed.
Ian Taylor played the majority of his career at Villa Park and is still remembered fondly by fans of the midlands club, and while he hopes Vlaar will stay on at the club, he admits when a club like Manchester United come calling one has to listen.
“He's definitely, on the world stage, shown he's good enough. He was in a good Dutch team and going to a good United team, I'm sure he'd settle in,” he said when asked if Vlaar would fit in at United.
“As a Villa fan I don't want him to do that. I'd love him to sign a new deal but from a player's point of view, he's in a great position. Do we cash in on him or do we try and persuade him to stay?”
Manchester United are a little short in the centre of defence, especially as Van Gaal is expected to go with a back three similar to that he used with the Netherlands in Brazil and Vlaar would represent a good deal.
At 29 years old he is still young enough to no be a too short-term option, while he has bags of experience. Three of the most senior defenders at Old Trafford have already left this summer – Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra – so some extra experience would be welcome.
Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans have all shone in the position occasionally over the last few seasons, but none have impressed to too great an extent and are unlikely to be relied upon by their new boss if he can land another defensive target.
His consistently good performances in a notoriously leaky team already make Vlaar an inviting prospect, but that he has shown he can operate in the middle role of the back three is probably more valuable for Van Gaal, who will want to hit the ground running in the Premier League if his team are to get themselves back into the Champions League places.
Another inviting factor is that Vlaar only has a year left on his contract and is yet to negotiate a new deal, which could force Villa to accept a Manchester United bid lower than they would expect after such a reputation-enhancing summer outing.