Manchester United were not interested in signing Feyenoord and Netherlands defender Stefan de Vrij according to the player himself. During this summers FIFA World Cup in Brazil, many Dutch players were linked to the Old Trafford club, purely because their new manager Louis van Gaal was of the same nationality and led them to the semi-finals of the tournament, beating Brazil to finish third, which was good for them. De Vrij was noticed by many United supporters, the rumours began to get stronger and suggestions of a move being complete were starting to become rife.
With a few weeks of the World Cup ending, Lazio were once again linked with a move for De Vrij, his reported destination before the tournament even started. So it was clear that the media seem to have invented the rumour, which because it involved Manchester United, it would probably sell newspapers and bring in lots of traffic to their respective websites. It seems to have worked. Speaking at his official unveiling as a Lazio player, reported by Sky Sports, De Vrij said:
“I am very happy to be here in a big club and in a big city.
“Lazio were the only club that showed a real interest in me before the World Cup.
“After the World Cup, I evaluated other options but I received the best feelings from Lazio and I’m happy to be here.
“Several clubs contacted me, I don’t think it’s fair to say the names. I can say that Manchester United were not one of them.”
The Netherlands international seems to be happy with his decision, but it remains clear that neither Manchester United or Louis van Gaal thought the player would better their squad this summer. With reports suggesting that United are back in for Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels, it would seem that United are looking for established players this summer, a marquee signing if you like. Personally I did like the look of De Vrij during the World Cup, but he was never going to be the player that solved defensive issues at the club.
I am sure his career will get better during his time at Lazio, as they are a club looking to get back into the swing of things in the Serie A, something they could achieve in the coming seasons. De Vrij’s experience in a better league will also be good for the Netherlands, and with new coach Guus Hiddink and assistants Danny Blind and Ruud van Nistelrooy, they will be looking at Van Gaal’s blueprint which led them to third place in this summers FIFA World Cup, with a view of winning a trophy in the European Championships in 2016. The basis is there for the Oranje.