In Focus: Chelsea target Stefan de Vrij could be club’s long-term Cahill replacement

According to a report in Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, via The Metro, Chelsea have joined Premier League rivals Manchester United in the race to sign Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij this summer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Il Messaggero, via The Metro, says that even though de Vrij is out of contract with the Serie A outfit in the summer and is keen for a new challenge, the 26-year-old feels that he owes it to Lazio to give them a transfer fee and he is willing to sign a new deal that has a release clause set at £20m.

Il Messaggero, via The Metro, says that the Blues were keen on the Netherlands international in the summer but ended up signing Antonio Rudiger from Roma instead, but the disappointing form of Gary Cahill and David Luiz’s injury issues could see them dip into the market again during the summer transfer window.

The report adds that the Premier League holders could face competition for his signature from Jose Mourinho however, who is keen to add to his defensive options at the end of the campaign.

How has De Vrij done this season?

The Dutchman has been outstanding at the heart of the defence for the Italian giants as they currently lie third in the Serie A table.

The 26-year-old has made 22 Italian top flight appearances – and 27 in total across all competitions – scoring three goals.

According to WhoScored.com, he has a passing accuracy of 92.2% across 24 matches in Serie A and the Europa League this term, while he has won 32 of the 46 aerial duels he has faced, as well as making 46 interceptions and 110 clearances.

Would he be a good signing for Chelsea?

He certainly would be, and he may well be viewed as Cahill’s long-term replacement following another disappointing display from the England international in the 4-1 defeat against Watford on Monday night.

De Vrij has proven himself to be one of the best defenders in Serie A and the fact that he is 26 years of age, is a Netherlands international and could be available for just £20m in the summer means that he should be in demand.

The 26-year-old is good on the ball and decent in the air, and he could be the perfect partner alongside the likes of Andreas Christsen, Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta at the back for the Blues.

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