Report: Sunderland and West Ham monitoring Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar's contract situation

Everton are also believed to be interested in the Netherlands international ahead of his Villa deal expiring at the end of this month.

Everton, Sunderland and West Ham United are all keeping close tabs on Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar's contract situation, according to the Daily Star.

Vlaar, 30, is set to be a free agent this summer and has been linked with a host of clubs since his impressive World Cup campaign with Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands side, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Southampton [h/t Sky Sports].

While he has been offered fresh terms, the experienced centre-back hinted at a move earlier this month when he told the Dutch media that he could go “a step higher” than the claret and blues.

Speaking to Voetbal International ahead of his national team’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Latvia, he said: “I have in consideration [a new deal], I think about it. I want to maximize my career and think I can go a step higher. I will look at it [before deciding].”

The Star reports that Tim Sherwood is keen to re-sign Vlaar, as the Villa boss himself has said in public, but adds that he is reluctant to break the bank to do so due to the Dutchman’s age and ongoing fitness woes.

With his future at the club in serious doubt therefore, Everton, Sunderland and West Ham have now joined the growing list of clubs believed to be monitoring developments as his contract nears its end.

However, while all three finished higher up the table than Villa last season, Vlaar’s comments about “maximising” his career would look somewhat absurd in hindsight were he to end up joining a non-top 10 Premier League rival.

Interest from the likes of United and Arsenal for his signature appears to have cooled meanwhile, following a campaign spent struggling for form and fitness, and the Star notes that it is now likelier the 31-times capped defender heads abroad as a result.

The newspaper names Serie A as a possible destination but recent reports have also claimed that his representatives have been holding talks with Besiktas about a move to the Turkish giants [h/t].

 2014-15 Premier League PositionTeamErrors Lead To GoalTotal Tackles GAMETackle AccuracyTotal Clearances GAMEHeaders Won GAMEAerial Duel SuccessInterceptions GAMEPassing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Jores Okore DF Aston Villa 0 2.22 75% 6.48 2.09 56.47% 2.83 86% 23 2,009
Ciaran Clark DF Aston Villa 0 1.56 87% 8 3.04 64.96% 1.88 79% 25 1,991
Nathan Baker DF Aston Villa 0 1.27 71% 9.27 3.36 58.73% 1.64 77% 11 763
Philippe Senderos DF Aston Villa 0 0.88 43% 6 0.75 46.15% 1.13 82% 8 632
Ron Vlaar DF Aston Villa 1 0.85 65% 5.75 1.2 52.17% 2.05 82% 20 1,646

Nevertheless, were a deal with Besiktas to materialise, it is debatable whether Premier League suitors would have missed out on much considering the less-than-stellar 2014-15 campaign Vlaar endured at Villa Park.

Following his impressive showing in Brazil, the Netherlands international would go on to see calf and knee injuries restrict him to just 23 total appearances over the course of the season, while also enduring stern criticism for a handful of poor performances.

The veteran stopper also lost the captain’s armband to Fabian Delph following Sherwood’s appointment as manager, as fellow centre-backs Ciaran Clark, Jores Okore and Nathan Baker outperformed him on various occasions when in the line-up.

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