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Aston Villa: Conor Clancy discusses Stefan de Vrij

Italian football expert Conor Clancy has delivered his verdict on reported Aston Villa target Stefan De Vrij.

What’s been said?

In a recent interview with Football FanCast, Clancy revealed that the Dutchman – who has been linked with a move to Villa Park – could offer Steven Gerrard’s invaluable quality both on and off the pitch, while also proving something of a coup at a reported £15m for a player of vast experience.

Asked whether the 30-year-old’s addition would prove to be a bargain buy for the Midlands outfit, the journalist said: “I think so. And the Villa project is interesting because they’ve got Steven Gerrard there and they’ve probably underachieved given the players that they have this season.

“But for a player like him to come in – because they are still relatively newly promoted into the Premier League – he’s the kind of player that can offer a lot in terms of he’s been there and done it all before with other clubs. He’s got a lot of experience and he’s capable of leading a team on the pitch.”

Axe Mings

The arrival of the Inter Milan defender would no doubt enable the club to part ways with current captain Tyrone Mings, following reports that Gerrard is keen to move the 29-year-old on this summer following his dismal displays this term.

The 17-cap international has come in for fierce criticism from pundit Danny Mills this season, with the Englishman insisting that he has a “mistake in his game somewhere” and that the Villans need a “top-quality centre-half” in order to go to that “next level”.

Should Villa replace Mings with De Vrij?

Yes please!

Yes please!

Not for me!

Not for me!

The club captain has formed part of a backline that shipped 54 goals in the recent campaign – the tenth worst record in the division – with the current boss failing to settle on a regular defensive pairing, shifting between both Calum Chambers and Ezri Konsa alongside the skipper.

As their collapse at the Etihad at the weekend proved, there is a soft spot in this Villa side, with it time that NSWE bolstered their defensive ranks after splashing the cash on attacking reinforcements, such as Philippe Coutinho.

Mings himself had cost the club £20m just under three years ago, although it would appear that his race is run at Villa Park, with De Vrij seemingly the man set to replace him.

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The former Lazio defender was part of an Inter side that narrowly missed out on a second successive Serie A title to rivals AC Milan, with the £116k-per-week gem having featured 30 times under Simone Inzaghi in that title challenge.

Although he has largely featured on the left of a back three, the 55-cap international would seemingly be able to comfortably slot into Gerrard’s preferred back four, proving the solution to the club’s left-sided centre-back problem.

One notable benefit to his arrival would be his quality in possession, the £31.5m-rated gem averaging a 92% pass success rate in the Italian top-flight in the recent campaign, while also ranking in the top 5% among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues for pass completion.

Mings, by contrast, had just an 80% pass accuracy rate in the 2021/22 season in the league – squandering possession 10.3 times per game on average – while he also ranks in just the top 84% for pass completion among centre-backs on the continent, as per FBref.

Those statistics don’t appear good enough for a side seeking to finish far higher up the table next term, with De Vrij the club’s ideal, quality replacement.

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