The Red Devils need experience at the back - there can be no doubts about that. With youngsters Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair occupying the second central defensive position for the most part of the current season, a player with Vlaar's leadership ability and football know-how would provide the team with a tremendous boost.
There will, of course, be questions over his ability to perform at the highest level, yet he proved his potential whilst playing for the Netherlands national side during the summer World Cup. Entrusted as Van Gaal's stalwart at the back, he shepherded a relatively inexperienced defensive line-up, assisting his side's progress to the tournament's semi-final stage and an eventual third-placed finish.
Naturally, you would expect a player's price-tag to increase after impressing on such a stage. However, considering Vlaar is out of contract at Villa Park come the end of the season, many would anticipate the Villans to demand far less than the reported £12 million.
Currently there are few top-class defenders available to United and Vlaar remains one of few dependable options. Paul Lambert will be fully aware of Louis van Gaal's long-standing interest in the Villa captain, and he will use this knowledge to barter an optimum fee for his services.
At 29 years of age, the Dutch international is unlikely to solve the club's long-term deficiencies at the back. Rather, he will act as a much needed quick-fix. While he would not be seen at the same level as primary targets, Van Gaal knows he can instantly slot into his current system, providing an experienced voice and sense of authority.
The Red Devils' current situation makes them liable to paying enhanced transfer fees and Villa, like many others, will use this to their advantage. Nonetheless, this signing is a necessity - the club are in need of a senior centre-back before the end of the season and Vlaar fits the bill. He may not be as glamorous as the likes of Mats Hummels, but he is a proven name in the Premier League.