Stefan de Vrij has reportedly rejected Newcastle, but Manchester United now pose a threat to Chelsea in the race for the Inter Milan centre-back.
A transfer could be likely for De Vrij this summer, before his Inter contract expires in 2023. The Serie A side could sacrifice a centre-back, with the Dutchman now looking more likely than Alessandro Bastoni to make way.
Indeed, De Vrij has already been linked with Chelsea, as a potential makeweight for Romelu Lukaku, and Tottenham, where he would reunite with Antonio Conte.
Another suitor could be Newcastle, who want to sign another centre-back after adding Dan Burn in January. But according to Italian transfer reporter Nicolo Schira, a move to Tyneside will not be happening.
However, Schira reveals that Manchester United have joined the race to sign De Vrij. He names them as competition to Chelsea, but makes no reference to Tottenham.
According to Schira, Man Utd have asked for information about the 30-year-old. The Red Devils could consider making a defensive purchase this summer.
Captain Harry Maguire came under scrutiny last season due to his inconsistent form. What’s more, fringe players like Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones could be looking to leave.
Hence, United may be requiring a new centre-back partner for Raphael Varane. They have been linked with a few names already – Jurrien Timber has been tipped to follow Erik ten Hag from Ajax, for example.
But they could opt for the experience of De Vrij after establishing themselves in a transfer battle with Chelsea.
The Blues’ need for new defenders is even greater. They are losing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers, and could say goodbye to Cesar Azpilicueta as well.
De Vrij is comfortable playing in a back three, which is the system he would operate in at Chelsea. In contrast, Ten Hag’s ideas for United’s formation will only become clear over time.
De Vrij could be what Man Utd are missing
Yet De Vrij could add to the Dutch contingent at Old Trafford if his compatriot is able to sign him.
Recent reports have suggested Inter’s asking price may only be around €15m (£12.8m). Even though he is approaching his twilight years, it could be good business for whoever signs De Vrij.
Chelsea interested in Stefan De Vrij from Inter Milan
Chelsea have an interest in Stefan De Vrij who could be used to bring Lukaku back to Inter Milan
His experience and reliability could be what Man Utd are lacking. Fellow Dutchman Ten Hag should also be able to help him settle into new surroundings in the Premier League, where he has never played.
A partnership of Varane and De Vrij would seem more solid for United. Alternatively, if Ten Hag can get something better out of Maguire, they could all play together in a three.
But Ten Hag has used a four-at-the-back formation more during his days with Ajax. Hence, adding De Vrij for one of two roles would be a sign of their increasing depth.
But there is nothing to indicate any deal is advanced just yet.