Man United need to beat arch rivals in race for the 26-year-old Serie A star

Liverpool and Manchester United have apparently been given a boost in the race to land Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij.

At the Beginning of this year, De Vrij announced that he would be leaving Lazio when his contract ends in the summer, and both Liverpool and United are believed to be in contention for the Dutchman’s services.

Inter Milan are also understood to be in the running to sign the centre-back, but sporting director Piero Ausilio has claimed that no deal is in place for the defender.

Ausilio told Mediaset: “I cannot confirm something like that. I can only talk about Inter and our players.”

De Vrij remains to be a key member of the Lazio starting lineup, with 34 appearances coming in all tournaments this season.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are reportedly set to miss out on the landing of Stoke City keeper Jack Butland.

The 25-year-old, who is one of the most highly-demanded shot-stoppers in the Premier League, is already a full England international and has been linked with a transfer to the Emirates Stadium as well as London rivals Chelsea earlier.

But, it would seem that a move to the capital is off the table.

As suggested by the Daily Mirror, Liverpool have developed as frontrunners for Butland’s services and are believed to be sure of sealing a record-breaking £40million transfer for the keeper in the summer transfer window as they seek to solve their issues in between the sticks.

Reds head coach had already splashed out a world record fee for a player when he signed Virgil van Dijk for £75m from Southampton in January and a deal for Butland would exceed the current world record fee for a keeper £34.7m on Ederson from Benfica to Manchester City last summer.

The keeper has earlier taken to social media to deny stories of a summer move to one of three teams above and claimed he is entirely focused on keeping Stoke in the Premier League.

“Before this spreads any further, I haven’t told the club I want to leave, I’m focused on doing everything I can to keep the club in this division!” Butland tweeted.

“Stop believing everything you read!”