Why Manchester United should pursue FC Basel defender Fabian Schar over Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar

There are numerous reasons why Manchester United should invest in FC Basel centre-back Fabian Schar over Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar this January.

With Ron Vlaar out of contract this summer, the Dutch centre-back looks all but set to leave Aston Villa at some stage in the coming months.

Having earned widespread plaudits at the World Cup for his starring performances in Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands side, a reunion between the pair at Manchester United has been rumoured since the tournament, and recent reports have suggested that the club are set to test Villa’s resolve with an initial £1.5 million bid this week.

While the reported fee looks like a bargain on the surface, there nevertheless remains good reason to dismiss the value in bringing Vlaar to Old Trafford this winter transfer window considering the other options available on the market.

The Villa captain’s form have been commendable since arriving in England in August 2012, but it’s also fair to declare that his showing in Brazil helped inflate his reputation to an absurd level, as has proven the case with countless other World Cup standouts in the past.

Now aged 29, the 31-times capped international has dealt with various injuries during his time at Villa, missing eight games this season with nagging calf problems, and those issues are bound to worsen moving forward.

Granted, Vlaar might prove a passable stopgap for the time being, but if Manchester United want to take full advantage of the transfer market then there’s another soon-to-be out-of-contract centre-back, who would prove a certified upgrade on their current options, that the club should look to this winter.

Fabian Schar, 23, has also entered the final six months of his deal at FC Basel and, with talks stalling over an extension, is understood to be available for less than £10 million at present.

The Switzerland international has proven himself more than capable of performing against elite competition when facing the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid in Europe over the past three seasons, and was also integral to Basel’s recent progress to the Champions League’s last-16 at the expense of Brendan Rodgers’ side.

 2014-15 Champions League PositionTeamOutfielder BlocksTotal TacklesTackle AccuracyTotal ClearancesAerial Duels WonAerial Duel SuccessInterceptionsPassing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Fabian Schär DF Basel 7 13 92% 34 5 45.45% 11 82% 6 540

An assured passer, whose strength and aerial prowess make him a considerable threat on set pieces, Schar has even been linked to United over the past few months, and Van Gaal was reported to have sent scouts to watch him in action in November ahead of a potential approach in the New Year.

With a great deal of development ahead of him, unlike Vlaar, the nine-times capped defender possesses the exact attributes which the Dutchman looks for in his centre-backs, and his well-rounded game should see him make a comfortable transition to the Premier League.

United might need to move fast in order to land his signature, however, with the likes of Arsenal, Inter Milan, Liverpool and Juventus all mentioned as potential suitors after witnessing him star in the Champions League, but that fact goes some length towards proving his undoubted talent.

In effect, if Van Gaal wants a promising bargain signing, who could be a long-term option on the backline, then he would be wise to place Schar at the top of his wishlist instead of going for the cheap alternative in Vlaar.

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