Ron Vlaar lacks key quality for Manchester United or Arsenal switch

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Ron Vlaar has emerged as a transfer target for Manchester United and Arsenal over recent months, with both Premier League giants in obvious need of strengthening their defensive options.

However, ex-Gunners stalwart Martin Keown appears to have cast doubt upon the possibility of a potential transfer, hinting that Dutch international Vlaar represents no real improvement on the current players available to Louis van Gaal and Arsene Wenger at present.

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Impressive World Cup

Aston Villa captain Vlaar - who first moved to English football from Eredivisie outfit Feyenoord back in 2012 and is out of contract at the end of this season - greatly enhanced his standing in the mind of many supporters this summer with a series of solid World Cup showings for his native Netherlands as Van Gaal's side secured a creditable third-placed finish following victory over hosts Brazil.

And while the 29-year-old - affectionately nicknamed 'Concrete Ron' for his typically uncompromising performances in the heart of defence - has plenty of experience, Keown doubts he has all the necessary attributes to become a real success at either Manchester United or former club Arsenal.

"If I’m going to be picky, I don’t think he’s mobile enough," Keown told the Daily Mail in weekly a column that was brought to our attention by the Express.

"He played well at the World Cup for Holland as part of a back three but that was because he had quick players either side of him. He’s a solid player but before somebody like Arsenal or United go in for him it’s important not to think of Vlaar the World Cup player but remember Vlaar Villa player last year."

"He is a good defender and obviously Villa won’t want to lose him but it’s different when you’re buying a player. You want them to improve on what you already have and I’m not sure he would at United or Arsenal.”

Injury crisis

Keown's assertion that Vlaar would not improve Van Gaal's exiting squad may cause dismay from some Manchester United supporters, with the Red Devils currently in the midst of a dire defensive injury crisis that leaves them with just one fit senior centre-back for Saturday's match against West Ham.

Phil Jones remains sidelined with a hamstring injury picked up during England's Euro 2016 qualifier in Switzerland last month, while Jonny Evans is set for a spell on the treatment table with bruising to his ankle that was sustained during the incredible 5-3 defeat to Leicester.

Chris Smalling - who only returned from injury for a 60 minute spell at the King Power Stadium - will also not be available for the visit of Sam Allardyce's Hammers after suffering a setback during training on Wednesday.

With Tyler Blackett suspended as a result of his rash decision to haul down Jamie Vardy in the penalty area last week, one of midfield duo Daley Blind or Darren Fletcher may get the nod to start alongside Marco Rojo at centre-back if Van Gaal decides to opt against drafting in a youngster in the shape of Paddy McNair or Tom Thorpe.

Mertesacker back

Arsenal's own defensive injury epidemic - one which affected the likes of Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal and led to Arsene Wenger handing a Gunners debut to 19-year-old Hector Bellerin for the Champions League tie away to Borussia Dortmund - has eased somewhat in recent days, with vice-captain Per Mertesacker expected to be fit to start in Saturday's eagerly-anticipated derby clash against fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium.

Regardless of that good news, Wenger remains short of depth at the back and will surely look to address the issue when the transfer window re-opens for business in January.

Manchester United and Arsenal fans, is Keown right on this occasion? Does Vlaar lack the mobility to play at the very top level or do you think he could succeed at your club? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box provided below.

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Aston Villa
Martin Keown
Manchester United
Premier League

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