With Holland’s exit from this year’s World Cup confirmed last night due a defeat on penalties to Argentina, Louis van Gaal can begin to concentrate on his role as manager of Manchester United.
The Dutch boss has had to remain focused on international football, despite knowing he will take on the mammoth task of returning United back to past glories in the upcoming season.
And one of his first missions as Red Devils boss will be to sign a centre-back.
United have lost two defensive stalwarts in Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic this summer and additions at the heart of their defence are clearly an urgent priority as a result.
The 20 time league champions have been linked with a host of central-defenders during the course of this transfer-window so far, but there is a feeling that Van Gaal may use some his Dutch connections to secure the signature of either Bruno Martins Indi of Stefan de Vrij.
The two youngsters were crucial components in his Holland squad over the course of the Oranje’s World Cup campaign in Brazil and are considered amongst the best young talents in their position.
The duo, both 22-years-old, currently play for Feyenoord in the Eredivisie and are thought to be available for the right price this summer.
United have already shown that they are not afraid to spend big on the players on Van Gaal’s wishlist, having parted with huge money to secure the transfers of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera already.
De Vrij looks more likely to be a transfer target than Martins Indi, if Van Gaal has used the World Cup as a guage of each player’s class, though.
The 16-time Dutch international outperformed his teammate in every department over the course of his nation’s spell in Brazil, as shown by the table below.
|Team||Pos||Won Tackle / apps||Outfielder Block / apps||Total Clearance / apps||Interception / apps||Accurate Pass / apps||Aerial Won / apps||Apps||Mins|
|Stefan de Vrij||Netherlands||DF||2.67||0.50||7.50||3.33||49.83||2.50||6||587|
|Bruno Martins Indi||Netherlands||DF||1.80||0.20||1.80||0.60||44.60||0||5||366|
Indeed, Van Gaal was in the luxury position to be able to judge the pair alongside an experienced Premier League campaigner in Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar.
Vlaar is by no means a star in England, but Martins Indi wasn’t even able to match his performances at the heart of the defence and that will surely be of some concern Van Gaal.
De Vrij, though, showed exactly why he is so highly regarded. Not only did he make the most tackles of Holland’s trio of centre-backs, he also read the game the most intelligently and completed the most passes.
It all means that De Vrij must have made himself the favourite of the two transfer targets to make the switch to Old Trafford if Van Gaal is keen to opt for a reunion, whilst Martins Indi may have to further prove himself before he is able to pull on the famous red-shirt.