Remember how a central defender was at the top of everyone's shopping lists? Napoli might be getting ready to tick that one off.
According to Il Mattino, Napoli have agreed terms on a pre-contract deal with Aston Villa central defender Ron Vlaar. The Netherlands international's contract is expiring at the end of the season, and negotiations between him and his club to extend his deal apparently did not go very well.
Il Mattino indicates that while Napoli is willing to wait until the end of the season to get Vlaar, they will also offer Villa some €2 million to get him now. They may accept that just to get something from their departing captain, but Villa won't be happy about the amount seeing as they spent almost €4 million to buy him from Feyenoord two and a half years ago.
The report says that Napoli and Vlaar, who turns 30 in February, came to terms on a deal worth about €1.7 million per season, or 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.
Vlaar played well enough last season that he convinced Louis Van Gaal to include him in his Netherlands squad for the World Cup this past summer, where he played all seven matches and helped lead Holland to their third-place finish. He's struggled a bit this season thanks to a poor run of injury luck, but has generally played quite well again when he's been healthy. Should he join Napoli, he'd be an upgrade in defense, capable of immediately replacing Raul Albiol in the lineup if Rafa Benitez wants him to. Given the low costs involved in the deal, it's hard not to like this deal for Napoli.