Philippe Senderos joined Aston Villa on a free transfer this summer and has declared his (possible) new team-mate, Ron Vlaar, as the best defender at the World Cup in Brazil. Whilst this is possibly a stretch, the Dutch center-back’s ability definitely shined brighter alongside defenders of a higher caliber than he played alongside in last season’s Premier League fight for survival.
The Midlands club enjoyed an ample improvement of quality at the back, following a comedy-of-errors the preceding year, but still leaked over 60 goals across the 38 league games. Vlaar could hardly be held accountable for these statistics, more likely a large reason they scraped their way through the campaigns above the relegation zone.
The defender’s quality really stood out in South America this summer though, causing many teams to sit up and take notice of a player that could be snapped up for considerably less than many other transfer targets. Arsenal, Tottenham and Southampton are believed to be the likeliest predators for Villa manager, Paul Lambert, to attempt to keep at bay.
Arsene Wenger and Arsenal
With Thomas Vermaelen hotly tipped to depart from the Emirates this summer, Wenger will be looking to shore up his ranks with a defender who can play alongside Mertesacker or Koscielny, were one of them to get injured. Even better, compete with them for a place and create a rivalry forcing all involved to be on the top of their game.
Like Vermaelen, Vlaar is also capable of finding the net, with 11 career goals from defense… just don’t let him take a penalty!
Ronald Koeman and Southampton
Southampton will also be ringing Lambert’s phone off the hook after losing key backliner, Dejan Lovren, to Liverpool. Incoming manager, Ronald Koeman, will not be happy with the out-flow from St Mary’s Stadium during this window, and will be looking to retaliate to Brendan Rodgers’s scourging of his top men by bringing in players of similar quality.
Ron Vlaar definitely fits his bill and Marcos Rojo of Argentina’s World Cup final team is also reported to be on his radar. The Dutch manager knows the position well, so will purchase wisely, and will have more than a few words of good advice to offer.
Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham may have an edge over the others in the contract talks with Vlaar’s employers though, as they are believed to be willing to offer Holtby and / or Dawson along with cash for the services of Concrete Ron.
Villa are finding life very difficult in the fast lane of the transfer window right now, with their owner wanting out (so money low to non-existent) and with two poor seasons on the bounce not exactly enticing to the kind of players they need to turn things around. With this in mind, Michael Dawson and Lewis Holtby would be hard for the Villans to turn down if they are resigned to losing their Dutchman.
That eventuality has yet to be accepted by Villa though, with the only murmurings coming out of Villa Park so far being “get yo hands offa my maaan”.