5 Teams Who Should Be Looking to Sign World Cup Star Stefan De Vrij
At the World Cup in Brazil, the Netherlands impressed by finishing third and beating teams like Spain and Chile on the way, all under the leadership of manager Louis van Gaal—who is now in charge of Manchester United.
During most of the tournament, Van Gaal opted for defensive tactics by employing a back five and aiming for counter-attacks.
One of the standout men in this back five was young Feyenoord defender Stefan de Vrij. The 22-year-old, who played his first international tournament, formed a rock-solid defensive wall with Ron Vlaar and Bruno Martins Indi.
Unsurprisingly, interest in De Vrij is now high, and teams like Lazio and Manchester United have been linked with the Feyenoord man, according to Sky Sports.
It remains to be seen where De Vrij will end up, but in anticipation of a move, here we have a look at five teams who would do well to at least consider making a move for the centre-back.
At the World Cup, Stefan de Vrij seemed to thrive under Van Gaal's leadership, and now that the Dutch boss is manager at Manchester United, the north-west of England seems like the ideal destination for the defender.
Despite his defensive tactics at the World Cup, Van Gaal is a manager who likes to play fluid and attacking football. A big part of his philosophy is the ball-playing defender: A defender who is not only good at stopping the opponent, but who can play a killer pass as well.
As we have seen during the World Cup, such a role really suits De Vrij, and with the club supposedly able to spend big this summer, Manchester United might just be tempted to snap up the young defender.
Ronald Koeman, the new manager of Southampton, introduced Stefan de Vrij to top-level football at Feyenoord several years ago.
Now that his old boss has made a new step in his career, it would make sense if De Vrij followed Koeman to Southampton.
They are familiar with each other, and De Vrij has thrived under Koeman's tactics and preferred style of play at Feyenoord.
What's more, the Saints might have to start looking for a replacement for centre-back Dejan Lovren, who seems close to leaving Southampton for Liverpool, as reported by Alan Smith in The Guardian.
After the Netherlands' successful World Cup, it might be easy to forget that Stefan de Vrij is still only 22 years old.
That's still young for a footballer and perhaps De Vrij would do well to move to a club led by a manager who's used to handling and nurturing young talent.
In this regard, Arsenal could be the ideal club for the Feyenoord man. In the past, talented players like Robin van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen have successfully made the move from the Eredivisie to Arsenal.
With Arsene Wenger slowly but steadily introducing De Vrij to the Premier League and Champions League, the player would stand a great chance of fulfilling his potential.
Now that Carles Puyol has retired, Barcelona are in the market for a replacement. While it's too early to compare the talented but young De Vrij to a player like Puyol, the Feyenoord man could have a role to play in the new team Luis Enrique is building at Barcelona.
On the one hand, De Vrij is used to passing the ball, and he knows how to play attacking football. In this regard, Barcelona's philosophy would be a good fit for the Feyenoord man.
On the other hand, Barcelona seem like a dangerous club to move to for a young and inexperienced footballer. Fellow Dutchman Ibrahim Afellay, for example, has seen his career stall after moving to the Catalonian side in 2011.
The move would be risky for De Vrij, but the potential payoff would be great.
This summer, it seems like Manchester City are in the market for a new centre-back, preferably a young one. If they're willing to take a bit of a gamble, they could go for De Vrij.
Of course, going from the Eredivisie to the top of the Premier League would be a big step up for the Feyenoord man. But at the World Cup, De Vrij proved his worth against teams like Spain and Argentina.
If his performances in Brazil are anything to go by, he could be an asset for a title-challenging team like Manchester City.
By acquiring De Vrij, Manchester City would have a younger stand-in for Martin Demichelis, who is already 33 and probably not a player for the future.