According to Il Mattino, Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar has agreed on terms with Napoli for a contract to begin at the end of the season. The Dutch defender, if the report is to be believed, has agreed to a deal worth €1.7 million per season, though he could also be bought by the Italians during the January window.
Our Napoli blog, The Siren Song, seem to take this report as being pretty credible. Here's what their Conor Dowley has to say:
"...a little over €32,000 per week. Those wages feel a little low for a defender of Vlaar's quality, but it's actually a bit of an uptick over his wages in England. It's also right in line with reported wages for Napoli's deals for Ivan Strinic and Manolo Gabbiadini, so we're getting a pretty clear picture of the kind of wages Napoli are comfortable handing out right now."
And while I generally lean towards trusting nothing that comes from the Italian press, the fact that the folks over there are buying it makes me think the report is a bit more plausible than I would otherwise.
If this is just a pre-contract, then it doesn't mean much for the rest of the season. I think we've all pretty much assumed that Vlaar wouldn't be around next year anyhow. Perhaps it would prevent Manchester United from swooping in for a few months of the defender's services, but his injury against Crystal Palace probably did that just fine. If it's a prelude to a January move, it could mean that Villa will have a couple million to spend. It's probably less than we'd have gotten from United, but given that Vlaar has been so injury prone this season, I'm happy to get anything for him.