Arsenal could hijack Manchester United move for Ron Vlaar

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Arsenal could attempt to hijack Manchester United's pursuit of Ron Vlaar, but it is looking increasingly unlikely that Aston Villa will be willing to allow their captain to depart for a low fee.

Netherlands international Vlaar - who first moved to the Premier League from Feyenoord in 2012 - is out of contract at at the end of the 2014/15 season but, nevertheless, speculation brought to our attention by the Daily Express suggests that a resolute Villa will demand at least £12 million to sell the player in January.

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Injury woes

Indeed the same source speculates that Arsenal could also join the hunt for Vlaar when the transfer window reopens this winter, with Arsene Wenger having this week conceded that the club perhaps should have added an extra defender to his squad during the summer and that they will look to address the problem at the next opportunity.

Both Arsenal and Manchester United have been besieged by defensive injury crises so far this season, a particular problem for the latter considering that Louis van Gaal was notably short on quality options in that area even when everyone was available due to the respective exits of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have all missed long spells through injury since the new campaign got underway in August, leaving new signing Marcos Rojo and little-known youngster Paddy McNair - who is now expected to miss three weeks with a hamstring problem of his own -  as the Red Devils' only fit centre-back options. 

Arsenal, meanwhile, similarly lack depth at the back and will be without the services of Laurent Koscielny for Saturday's clash with Hull City due to a persistent achilles issue that also ruled him out of France's recent friendly internationals against Portugal and Armenia.

Such an absence is likely to result in full-back Nacho Monreal being drafted in as an emergency partner for Per Mertesacker for the visit of Steve Bruce's side. Calum Chambers would usually be expected to fill that role, but he is already covering for Mathieu Debuchy on the right-hand side.

Realistic option?

Manchester United's apparent interest in Vlaar has drawn a decisively mixed reaction from supporters, with many evidently believing that Van Gaal - who will know the player well after managing him previously in his role as Dutch boss  - should be focused on chasing a higher caliber of transfer target in the mold of Borussia Dortmund stalwart Mats Hummels.

However, with the German looking likely to remain at Signal Iduna Park for the foreseeable future and a seeming lack of other world-class candidates available, Manchester United could do a lot worse than recruiting an experienced leader whom is obviously trusted by Van Gaal.

For Arsenal, Vlaar - affectionately nicknamed 'Concrete Ron' due to his consistency and strength - could be the perfect signing to add competition and crucial cover for Mertesacker and Koscielny.

Manchester United
Aston Villa
Premier League

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