Reports have emerged that Chelsea are planning to make Stefan de Vrij their top target this summer. The classy Dutch defender is set to pen a new contract with Lazio, with a £22m release clause, ensuring they do not lose him on a free transfer in May.
Chelsea believe de Vrij could be the perfect long term replacement for Gary Cahill, who despite inheriting the captaincy in the summer, appears to be running out of time at Chelsea. At £22m, de Vrij would be an absolute steal for Chelsea, and at 25 years old, he would provide a long term solution alongside Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
His addition would provide further depth to an already strong back line, making competition within this Chelsea side even greater. Despite de Vrij’s quality, Chelsea will not be able to guarantee that he will be first choice every week. Arsenal, on the other hand, can offer this. And, they can more than afford this transfer fee and wages.
With Laurent Koscielny looking past his best, and SkhodranMustafi yet to prove himself on a consistent basis, Arsenal must look to de Vrij. The Dutchman would provide a different playing style to the pair, and would be a more suitable partner for Mustafi, who despite his form, has bags of talent.
Saturday’s North London Derby may have only been decided by a single goal, but in truth, Tottenham could have had a lot more. Arsenal once again looked exposed at the back, and they have now failed to keep a clean sheet in the last nine games – their worst record for 16 years. This only further highlighted the need for a commanding defender, and Arsenal must look to Stafan de Vrij.
January’s failed move for Jonny Evans highlighted Wenger’s intention to strengthen at the back, and he has confirmed he will add in the summer. While Evans is a good defender, he’s unlikely to strengthen the side too much. He may make the backline slightly more organised, but he would not drastically overhaul performances in the way de Vrij would.
On top of that, Evans is 30 years old, and playing at the top of his game. He will not get better, and his levels will likely decline in the next 18 months, whereas de Vrij is likely to keep getting better for at least three more years. This is one that Arsenal must get done this summer, and the club should start working on the move now, before competition hots up.