The topic of Manchester United's defence continues to be discussed, centring on who they will recruit to replace stalwarts Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. Couple that with the fact that nearly every Dutch player has been linked with United due to Louis Van Gaal's impending arrival, and it seems strange that Ron Vlaar is not being linked more strongly given the job he has done at the World Cup.
Vlaar is certainly not a fashionable defender. Currently playing his club football in England for Aston Villa, the no-nonsense central defender is not a calm, ball playing defender like Ferdinand. However, he has done a superb job anchoring the back three deployed by Van Gaal and has at times looked unbeatable.
United are in need of two quality defenders to replace Ferdinand and Vidic, with Jones and Smalling not developing how they would have hoped, and Jonny Evans often struggles to stay fit so Van Gaal will be looking for at least one world class player. A high profile pursuit of Mats Hummels appears in progress but Ron Vlaar could easily be the answer for the other position.
The Dutchman only has one year left on his contract at Villa so would not cost a lot of money, and watching how he dealt with some top class strikers in Brazil will lead to some suggesting he can cope at a much higher level. A superbly timed tackle on Lionel Messi during the semi-final was evidence of his ability against great strikers.
Manchester United achieved great success with a classy ball-playing defender in Rio Ferdinand and a hard-nosed, old fashioned centre back in Nemanja Vidic. If they manage to capture a player like Hummels, then Ron Vlaar could be the perfect compliment. His timing of an interception was excellent against Argentina and he certainly is not afraid of putting his body in the way.
United need to return some steel to their side, with the players looking flat and dejected last season. Players in the mould of Vlaar bring a "never say die" attitude that was distinctly lacking at Old Trafford last year, and Van Gaal clearly has a lot of trust in him. Even if he is just used in a rotation system initially, he brings excellent strength in depth for the new United boss.
It has already been an expensive summer for the Red Devils so far, and a slightly more cost effective addition to bolster the ranks would surely be very welcome. He arguably gave a man of the match performance in the World Cup semi final, it is hard to see how he has not attracted attention, and the new United boss has had a front row seat.
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