Lazio have resigned themselves to losing Stefan de Vrij in the summer on a free, alerting once-admirers in Liverpool as well as a host of European sides to the defender’s availability.
Currently teetering on the edge of Champions League qualification in the Serie A, the Italian side had hoped to extend their starting center half’s contract past its expiration at the end of the season; however, the club’s board have now formally pulled their offer from the table.
Lazio director Igli Tare blamed neither side for failing to bridge the impasse:
“Lazio have withdrawn the proposal we made for a new contract to De Vrij,” Tare said speaking to Italian broadcaster Mediaset Premium.
”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.
”It’s a matter of fairness. This is not the opportune time to give the reasons for this decision, but we had to give a response and we gave it this evening.
”It is better to look forward, as Lazio are a side who have grown in recent years and will continue to grow, because we certainly do not lack players.”
While once a more than serviceable Plan B following the Red’s failed attempts to secure Virgil Van Dijk’s signature last summer, the ex-Southampton man’s blockbuster arrival in the winter along with improved play from the likes of Dejan Lovren have made de Vrij less of a priority.
Instead, it is United who look to have the dire need for an injection of quality at the heart of their defense and can arguably be considered the frontrunners in the race to sign the 26-year-old.
While Reds fans can be happy with choice of Dutch international they ended up with, the fact remains that Klopp and his recruitment team were purportedly once in for the talented defender, and thusly, Liverpool can’t be ruled out of the running for a player wanted by the likes of Barcelona, Juventus, Chelsea and Manchester City.