Lazio centre-back Stefan de Vrij, is reportedly keen on a switch to the White Hart Lane come summer, as the Chelsea-target and Netherlands international isn’t willing to extend his contract at the Serie A club.
The 24-year-old has a long list of suitors including Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan, and despite having a contract until the summer of 2018, a transfer away at the end of the season is possible as long as his £30million asking price is met.
Reports say Spurs won’t hesitate to land him, and with both parties interested in the switch, De Vrij moving to link up with Pochettino’s side is very possible, but considering how tough the competition in England’s top flight is, will he be able to fit in the rigours of the Premier League if he joins Tottenham?
Considering his fellow Dutch players and national team pals have had it rough upon arriving the league of recent definitely doesn’t give a great hint as regards his possible adaptation. Depay has already been shipped off to France, while Janssen is still struggling for relevance since arriving from PSV over 6 months ago, but De Vrij’s case could be different for some reasons.
Since leaving the Eredivisie at the end of the 2013-14 season after 5 years with Feyenoord, the former Manchester United target has settled down well in one of the toughest leagues in the world. He made 30 Serie A appearances for the Biancocelesti in his first season and quickly bounced back from an injury that ruled him out of 95% of last season to return to the starting XI, playing 14 league games for the team thus far this term.
Transitioning successfully and meeting the tough demands of the Premier League should come easy for the defender, and neither should Tottenham’s high-pressing football be a problem too. The top clubs in the Premier League have been linked with De Vrij, and this wouldn’t be possible if they aren’t convinced of his quality and ability to hit the ground running in the top flight.
At the Brazil 2014 World Cup, not only did he establish himself as a regular starter for Van Gaal’s side and played every of Netherlands’ games as they finished in 3rd place, he also beat a couple of great defenders to a spot in the Tournament’s FIFA World Cup All-Star Team despite being a 22-year-old on the books of Feyenoord at the time.
His numbers also hint at a great possibility of him doing just well in the Premier League if he ends up completing a move to the White Hart Lane. In the Serie A this term, De Vrij has won 22 tackles, made 36 interceptions, 55 clearances and 8 blocks. He has completed 86% of his passes, while his ability to play from the back has seen him create 4 chances and scored a goal already.
His playing chances are perhaps the only concern if he indeed makes that Tottenham switch. Alderweireld and Vertonghen are without a doubt Premier League’s best centre defence partnership, and that would likely be the case for some few years to come. If Stefan de Vrij will be able to force his way into Pochettino’s plans remains to be seen, he sure will be a better backup than Wimmer.
Having him adapt to the style of the play of the club and the league wouldn’t be an issue, if he will be willing to play second fiddle in the north London’s star-studded and quality squad should be.