Ron Vlaar backed to strengthen Manchester United's defence

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Ron Vlaar has received the backing of one of Manchester United's most-celebrated former defenders to help Louis van Gaal boost an inexperienced defensive unit at Old Trafford.

The hugely experienced Van Gaal officially took the reins as new Red Devils boss on Thursday and despite initial claims that he would look to give his current squad a chance to impress and wait up to four weeks before making any new signings, he is nevertheless expected to attempt to significant bolster a threadbare backline that has been left rather vulnerable following the respective departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.

Manchester United have been credited with an interest in Vlaar after the 29-year-old impressive's performances for his native Netherlands at the recent World Cup, and McGrath - who represented the club between 1982-89 and cemented a legacy as one of the club's most solid defensive talents - evidently concurs that the Dutchman is someone who should be on Van Gaal's wishlist moving forward.

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Vlaar to Old Trafford?

"Man United's defence is an area which could do with strengthening. They have lost Vidic, Ferdinand and probably Evra," the former Republic of Ireland international told talkSPORT.

"With Luke Shaw coming in, it’s going to be a very young and inexperienced defence. I’m hoping he’ll bring in a good experienced defender. Rob Vlaar would be on that list.”

Van Gaal will be well aware of the strengths associated with Vlaar's game, of course, with the former Feyenoord man having become a mainstay of the Netherlands' defence under his management.

Vlaar - who joined Premier League strugglers Aston Villa back in 2012 - was arguably one of Oranje's top performers during their run to a third-placed finish in Brazil, a missed penalty in the semi-final defeat to Argentina the only black mark on an otherwise solid campaign.

Watch: The latest Manchester United transfer news

Roma competition

If Manchester United are indeed planning to push forward with a potential swoop for Vlaar, it looks like they will face stiff competition from the continent.

Italian outfit AS Roma - who finished runners-up to reigning champions Juventus in Serie A last season - are also believed to be on his trail, with considerable doubt continuing to surround the future of Mehdi Benatia at the Stadio Olimpico.

Aston Villa will also presumably be hugely reluctant to part with Vlaar. Although he has been prone to the odd error since arriving in the Midlands, he has nevertheless become the experienced lynchpin of an otherwise young side under Paul Lambert and it seems unlikely that the club would be content to see him part without receiving hefty compensation.

Just what fee the Villains do receive for his services will be limited, however, given that Vlaar's current contract is due to expire next summer.

Manchester United fans, do you think Vlaar is the right man to boost your defence? Should Van Gaal move for him or a more high-profile candidate such as Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box provided below.

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