Lazio defender Stefan De Vrij has revealed details about his reported link with Manchester United in the summer of 2014.
De Vrij was an integral part of the Dutch squad, managed by Louis van Gaal, who lost in the semi-finals to Argentina. The centre-back had an impressive tournament, even managing to score against Spain as part of a 5-1 humiliation of the then World Champions.
After the tournament many in the media were under the impression that De Vrij would be joining up with his international manager at Man United. The Reds were in desperate need of a centre-back at the time following the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand but De Vrij admitted a move was never on the cards.
“That [Manchester United interest] was never concrete. That Van Gaal would be there was clear during the World Cup.” He said.
“He once said in Brazil, ‘you played a good World Cup; a year ago I didn’t even consider you for selection’.”
“He also said something along the lines of, ‘you have done very well, but we are talking about Manchester United here, the biggest club in the world. If you continue to develop, who knows what will happen in the future’.
“It wasn’t him saying he would pick me, but perhaps that I would end up at such a club; that’s what he meant I think.”
When the 23-year-old was linked with a move to United, many felt he was not quite up to the standard required at one of the biggest clubs in the world and it seems van Gaal agreed with that notion. The manager decided not to pursue signing his former player, who was available at the time, and instead let him leave Feyenoord to join Lazio, rather than United.
The Reds neglected a central defensive signing in this summer’s transfer window as well, despite being linked with a whole host of names. It seems van Gaal is happy with the options he has in the position and De Vrij’s comments make it obvious that the manager does not think he would have been an improvement on what United already have.