Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar has been the subject of much transfer speculation after helping the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the World Cup this summer, with Juventus the latest club reported to be courting his signature.
Fellow Italian sides Roma and Lazio have also been linked with a move for Vlaar in recent weeks but, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, both face stiff competition from the Serie A champions, who are looking to bolster their defence in a bid for their fourth consecutive league title.
The 29-year-old is reportedly one of two candidates on the side’s shortlist, with ex-Manchester City man Stefan Savic also mentioned as a possible target, having impressed at Fiorentina for the past two seasons.
Domestic interest is plentiful too, with Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United all rumoured to be after the Dutchman, who is entering the final season of his contract at Villa and has still to begin negotiations over a new deal.
Vlaar played under new Saints boss Ronald Koeman for a season at Feyenoord, before joining his current club in August 2012, while the centre-back also proved a reliable presence in Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands side in Brazil, fuelling speculation of a potential move to help United’s thin back-line.
In addition, Tottenham were reported to be open to a swap deal for the Villa captain, with Lewis Holtby and Michael Dawson mentioned as potential players involved in such a bid.
Having taken on the club captaincy just months after his arrival from Feyenoord, Vlaar’s veteran leadership has been vital to Paul Lambert’s thin and inexperienced squad over the past two seasons, as the sole dependable performer on an otherwise unreliable defence.
However, as want-away owner Randy Lerner struggles to find potential buyers, a significant bid could well be tough to turn down for the financial-stricken club, who are desperate for extra funds to prevent a fourth successive relegation-threatened season.
With interest intensifying every day now, it looks increasingly likely that the 29-year-old could be moving on during this transfer window, much to the disappointment of Villa supporters.