Liverpool have been handed a massive boost in their pursuit of Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij. The Netherlands international has been linked with a move to Anfield for some time, with Arsenal, Barcelona and Inter Milan also interested in the player.
The 26-year-old moved to Lazio from Feyenoord in 2014 following an impressive World Cup, which saw Netherlands finish third under Louis van Gaal.
But De Vrij’s current deal at Stadio Olimpico will run down after this season and the defender has decided to not renew his contract. The Serie A club have now confirmed De Vrij will be available on a free transfer this summer after ending talks over a new deal.
Lazio sporting director Igli Tare also confirmed there was an offer of a contract renewal on the table but that has now been withdrawn.
“Lazio have withdrawn the proposal we made for a new contract to De Vrij,” Tare told Mediaset Premium (h/t the Liverpool Echo).
“We are withdrawing for reasons that we will explain later on. It was a choice made after many months of negotiations, but there is also a limit to how things went.
“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.
“We did things the right way, but things changed at the last moment. We no longer wish to continue along this path. The only thing certain is that in the world there are no lack of players.”
Going by Lazio’s sporting director’s words, it is clear the Serie A outfit are not keen anymore to tie down De Vrij to a long-term contract. Moreover, the centre-back seems to want a new adventure after enjoying a solid four-year stay with Lazio.
De Vrij would become a free agent in the summer and should Liverpool go for him? The Dutchman is strong, reliable, commanding in the air and is good with the ball at his feet. He has been a pillar for both club and country and has therefore been tracked by a host of European clubs.
Had we not signed Virgil van Dijk from Southampton last month, I would have loved to see De Vrij at Liverpool.