Lazio director Igli Tare has this evening confirmed that star defender Stefan De Vrij will not sign a new contract with the club, meaning the in-demand stopper will leave the club on a free transfer in June.
De Vrij, a 26-year-old central defender, has established himself as one of Serie A’s finest stoppers over the last couple of seasons, following his arrival in Rome from Feyenoord in 2014.
The no-nonsense Dutch international has proven absolutely vital in the impressive campaign enjoyed by Simone Inzaghi’s Biancocelesti to this point, having featured from the start in 24 of the club’s 25 league outings (including tonight).
However, much to the annoyance of the Lazio hierarchy, the club’s recent attempts to tie De Vrij down to a new contract at the Stadio Olimpico have proven unsuccessful, with the Feyenoord youth product’s current deal set to expire this summer.
As such, a number of Europe’s biggest clubs are reported to have set their sights on a summer move for the 31-time capped Oranje international, with Juventus, Inter Milan, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool all linked.
‘Our paths will divide’
And, in a hammer blow to the prospects of Lazio moving forward, but a huge boost to De Vrij’s numerous suitors, Biancocelesti director Igli Tare this evening confirmed in an interview with Mediaset Premium that the club have decided to pull their contract offer to the Dutchman, meaning he will depart the Olimpico for nothing this summer:
‘Lazio have withdrawn the proposal we made for a new contract to De Vrij.’
‘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.’