According to the Mirror, Everton have fallen behind Liverpool and Manchester United in the battle for Stefan de Vrij.
The Dutchman is apparently keen on a move to Old Trafford, after Lazio sporting director Igli Tare confirmed the defender would leave at the end of his contract this summer.
He said: “Lazio have withdrawn the proposal we made for a new contract to De Vrij. We are withdrawing, for reasons that we will explain later on.
“He has been an exemplary professional and we thank him for that, as well as what he’ll do until the end of the season. He gave a lot to the club, just as we gave a great deal to him, but our paths will divide in June.”
De Vrij has some injury concerns, but there can be no doubts about the 26-year-old’s quality when he’s fit. He’s been an integral part of Lazio’s impressive transformation under manager Simone Inzaghi, scoring four times, racking up an impressive 92% passing accuracy and adding 55 interceptions and 114 clearances to go with it.
Everton were linked with the defender in January, but eventually signed Eliaquim Mangala instead, who has endured a pretty disastrous start at the club and is now injured. Mangala is one of three Everton signings this year to have come from a top six club.
If Everton are to kick on to the next level as a club, whether that be under Sam Allardyce or not, they must compete for players like De Vrij – who is valued at £31.5m by transfermarkt.com.
He will be out of contract in the summer, so it will essentially be a bidding war over wages. If the Toffees want to compete with the best, they need to stop taking on their rejects and start competing with them in the market, and beating their northern neighbours to the Dutch defender would be a big statement of intent.
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