Aston Villa boss Sherwood hopeful of keeping Vlaar

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood is optimistic that central defender and captain Ron Vlaar will choose to stay at the club for next season despite his current contract expiring at the end of June, the Daily Mirror has reported.

The Dutch international has been constantly linked with a move away from the West Midlands, and has allowed his contract to run down amid interest from Premier League rivals Manchester United and Southampton along with beaten Europa League semi-finalists Napoli. The FA Cup final against Arsenal on May 30 is set to Vlaar’s last before becoming a free agent in the summer.

However, the turnaround at the club since Sherwood took over in February has prompted a rethink from Vlaar, who has now told the club that he would like to sign a new deal and extend a stay at Villa Park which began in the summer of 2012 soon after the arrival of former boss Paul Lambert.

And Sherwood is confident he will stay. “I’ve told Ron I want him to stay and he’s said he wants to,” said the 46-year-old. “So his representatives are going to talk to the club and I’m confident something can be done. Are we close? Well, put it this way, we’re not a million pounds away.

“He’s indicated to me he’s happy and I’m thinking exactly the same way, so I’m sure it will get done. Our best results have come when Ron is playing.”

Sherwood is also confident over the future in-form striker Christian Benteke, with a run of 11 goals in nine games leading to increased interest in the Belgian in recent weeks. The club successfully persuaded midfielder Fabian Delph to sign a new long-term deal back in April.

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