Manchester United tabbed to swoop for Aston Villa defender in baseless rumour

Alex Livesey

You may have heard it through the Grapevine, but that's no reason to believe it.

A line item in a Saturday Mail column has linked Manchester United with an unexpected swoop for Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar. While the Dutch defender has definitely one of the better players wearing claret and blue this year and could certainly help many clubs, it's a rumour that is baseless and speculative. Plus, it wouldn't really be the smartest move for United to make.

The column is Rob Shepherd's weekly Football Grapevine, and the Vlaar link is small enough for me to quote it in its entirety. "But if Van Gaal gets the job he is likely to suggest Dutch pair Wesley Sneijder and Ron Vlaar, currently at Galatasaray and Aston Villa repectively." The Van Gaal in question is current Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal, who Shepherd speculates is United's top choice to replace David Moyes. He then says that "before United settle a deal with Van Gaal they will want to make certain there really is NO chance of getting Pep Guardiola."

So, let's get this clear. United actually want Pep Guardiola. But they may settle on a man who cannot take over their club until after the World Cup this summer. And if that man is chosen -- a move that may make football sense, but may also leave too many loose ends for a publicly traded company like United -- he may want to bring in Ron Vlaar. Why? Well, there's no reason given, so I'm left to presume it's because they're both Dutch and because Van Gaal would know Vlaar from the defenders time in the Dutch national side.

Otherwise, it's a move that doesn't make a ton of sense for United. Vlaar is an above-average defender, who may be the best player on Aston Villa. But given the loads of money that United have to throw around, he's hardly the best option out there. He's also 29 years old to boot, which is not what you would expect if United decide to not throw around money. If they remain frugal, you'd probably look for a younger player who has loads of potential. You know, like Chris Smalling.

Let this rumour be your warning that silly season is here. Something may eventually come of this. Manchester United may eventually sign Ron Vlaar. But there is nothing to indicate it at this point, and the rumour is entirely speculative. Don't panic, our captain is probably not leaving us.

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