ESPN have dropped a bit of a bomb on us with a report that Aston Villa are officially willing to sell Ron Vlaar to Manchester United in January. We've heard the rumours that Vlaar could be linking up with his former Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal for some time, but this is the closest we've come to confirmation that a deal is in the works. Apparently Villa have expressed that they are willing to let Vlaar go if United will pony up £12 million for the services of the captain.
Now, I certainly don't want to see Vlaar leave Villa, and would be all in favor of the club re-signing him on a new deal before his current one expires this summer. But this? Well, Paul Lambert would be an idiot not to take the deal if Manchester United are willing to agree to it. With only a few months left on his contract and injury issues that have plagued the centre back in the past two seasons, Vlaar isn't worth £12 million. That sort of money could be put to use in making the Tom Cleverley move a permanent one as well as in securing a replacement at Center Back.
Other websites have been taking this report to mean that United have agreed to personal terms with Vlaar, but there's no way I can read it in that light. Nevertheless, given the strong relationship between Vlaar and van Gaal (as well as the fact that United have plenty of money to throw Vlaar's way) I can't imagine personal terms would hold this deal up. The real issue is the transfer fee, and United very well might be desperate enough to give up £12 million for Vlaar.
This deal is nowhere near done, and there's a good chance that van Gaal's club will balk at this asking price, but it's a pretty savvy move by Aston Villa. Vlaar is important to this club, and the price reflects that. If he leaves, some sort of corresponding move will have to be made to bolster depth and the money from this deal would be plenty to make that happen.
I love you, Ron, but if you can fetch us this much money, enjoy Manchester.