After looking like one of the game's top defenders at the World Cup, Ron Vlaar's 2014-15 season has failed to live up to his newfound reputation.
After his starring World Cup performances for Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands side, there were big expectations for Ron Vlaar going into this season – whether with Aston Villa or another club.
Tipped for a summer reunion with Van Gaal at Manchester United, per the likes of the BBC, Villa somehow managed to hold onto their star skipper past the transfer deadline, but his fortunes since suggest that cashing on his services might have been the better option.
Having seen injuries restrict him to just 14 appearances, the experienced centre-back’s most recent outing against Stoke also saw him sent off after conceding a last-minute spot-kick in a 2-1 defeat, with his now-notorious calf problems since keeping him sidelined for the past four games after serving his suspension.
Even when on the pitch, though, the Dutchman still hasn’t managed to live up to his newfound reputation as an elite defender, with Ciaran Clark and Jores Okore proving more than capable replacements, along with injured pair Nathan Baker and Philippe Senderos.
|Season||Total Tackles MINS||Tackle Accuracy||Total Clearances MINS||Headers Won MINS||Header Success||Interceptions MINS||Fouls MINS||Passing Accuracy||Appearances||Mins Played|
While a solid contributor since arriving at Villa Park in 2012, Vlaar’s showing in Brazil seems to have made him one of the more overrated members of Tim Sherwood’s squad and, with his contract expiring in the summer, he might not be much longer for the West Midlands.
Now aged 30, there are few reasons to believe his fitness issues are going to improve from here on and, with the club having more than enough depth at centre-back, the time might be right for him to move on.
To his credit, Vlaar has done little moaning about his future, despite stalling on a new deal, but, unless a miraculous comeback occurs over the final run in, his lacklustre 2014-15 campaign looks set to contribute to an unceremonious departure.
One could argue that Christian Benteke has been Villa's biggest disappointment this term but, considering the Belgian was bound to struggle upon returning from six months out with a ruptured Achilles, the unwanted honour has to go to his captain.