Arsenal linked with Ron Vlaar

Ron Vlaar could leave for £4m in January. (©GettyImages)

Arsenal look to have taken the lead in the race to sign Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar for a reported £8 million in January.

According to the Express, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is set to join the race for the Netherlands international and is willing to give the green light to bring the player to the Emirates Stadium.

The north London side are in desperate need of a new commanding centre-back and Vlaar fits the bill, having already impressed in the Premier League since joining Villa in 2012.

Villa boss Paul Lambert  is eager to keep the Dutch star, but they are yet to agree a new contract with their captain.

The news will come as a concern to Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal, who is keen on signing the 29-year old himself in January, after the club failed to sign a replacement for either Nemanja Vidic or Rio Ferdinand in the previous transfer window.

Van Gaal gave Vlaar his professional debut at AZ Alkmaar and picked him for his Netherlands squad during the summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

He is, however, not the only centre-back to be linked with a move to the Red Devils in two months' time, when the transfer window opens again.

The Old Trafford side are rumoured to be making a £30 million bid for Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, who is already regarded as one of the best defenders in Europe, despite only being 21 years of age.

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