Aston Villa confirm that Ron Vlaar has been offered new contract

Netherlands' World Cup star has been linked to Manchester United for much of the past year.

Aston Villa have confirmed that they have offered a new contract to star defender Ron Vlaar, on a day when they announced a high profile departure from the playing staff.

The club's official website confirmed the offer of a new deal to the Dutch star, saying: "Villa have offered a new contract to Ron Vlaar, whose previous deal expires at the end of this month."

The former Feyenoord favourite, who has played 88 times since arriving for a reported £3.2 million according to Sky Sports, was much in demand last summer, after helping the Dutch to third place in the World Cup in Brazil.

Following that tournament, the 30-year-old was heavily linked with Manchester United, and has continued to be mentioned in relation to the Red Devils by sources such as the Express, who appointed Vlaar's Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal as their new boss for this season.

Confirmation of a new contract offer indicates Vlaar is someone Tim Sherwood wants to hold on to, and time will tell whether United or another side declare their interest or whether the centre back extends his stay at Villa Park.

The Villans did release former England striker Darren Bent, four and a half years after signing him in a club record deal, as well as Irish defender Enda Stephens. 31-year-old Bent has already joined Derby County, where he spent the last few months of last season, scoring 10 times in 15 games.

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