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Lazio could snatch up rising Dutch defender before Manchester United or Liverpool

May 21, 2014, 8:35 PM EDT

DeVrij Getty Images

Judging by how fast the Italians are acting, transfer business could be over for Stefan de Vrij almost as soon as it started.

The 22-year-old Feyenoord center-back has made an impression across Europe, and was linked with several top teams in the Premier League.

However, with Lazio finishing a disappointing ninth in Serie A this past season, a squad shakeup is in order and defensive reinforcement is likely a top priority.

Lazio conceded 54 goals last season, more than anyone above them in the table and more than three teams below them.

Therefore, the club hopes to snatch up de Vrij for a reported fee of $8 million, according to Italian paper Il Tempo, but Feyenoord is hoping for around $1.5 million more.  According to the report, de Vrij is just one of “at least three” defenders Lazio is hoping to bring in this summer.

According to the report, Lazio officials are in Rotterdam to discuss terms, while de Vrij, owner of 10 international caps, is in the Dutch World Cup squad and is training with the team in Portugal.

The paper says Manchester United and Liverpool also remain hot on the trail, but Lazio have accelerated the process hoping to get a deal done before de Vrij leaves for Brazil to compete in the World Cup.

De Vrij made 32 Eredivisie appearances last season, scoring four goals and maintaining the back line of a Feyenoord squad that finished a smashing second place, conceding just 40 times, third lowest in the Dutch league.  He played every minute of the club’s final 18 matches, including a seven-match win streak at the end of the year which saw them outscore opponents 20-2.

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