Lazio Stefan de Vrij rejects extension will leave club after season
Lazio have confirmed that Stefan de Vrij has turned down their offer of a new contract and will be leaving the club in the summer.
The Dutch defender has been strongly linked with a move to Inter Milan, while Manchester United and Chelsea have also been rumoured to be interested in the 26-year-old, who will be available on a free transfer in July.
Lazio’s sporting director, Igli Tare, has now paved the way for a move to happen by saying his club are withdrawing their offer of a new contract since the player has made it clear he will not be signing it.
“We’ll explain our reasons later,” Tare said to Mediaset. “There’s a limit and that’s been breached, and it’s now become a question of correctness. He’s always been an exceptional professional and he’s given a lot to Lazio, and Lazio have given a lot to him, but at the end of the season, our paths will divide. We are withdrawing our offer to him.
“There’s nothing evil — we thank Stefan for what he has given to us, but for now, we are not going to explain the reasons behind this separation. We need to look ahead. We’ve grown a lot and we will continue to grow. The only certainty is that there will never be a lack of footballers and we’ve got to be good at finding them.”
Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said he will be sorry to see De Vrij leave, but he has no doubts the defender will continue to give everything for the club in the meantime.
“I’m sorry because he’s a great player,” Inzaghi told Mediaset. “He’s made a different choice and we’ve taken note, but the important thing is he continues to give 100 percent until the end of the season. I know that the club made him a significant offer and he was tempted, but he’s a champion and I know that he will behave as such until the end of the season.”
De Vrij, who is rated at €35 million, joined Lazio from Feyenoord in 2014. He has been a regular for the club apart from the 2015-16 season, most of which he missed because of a knee injury.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.