Ron Vlaar
Ron Vlaar's agent has denied opening talks with Aston Villa over a new contract for the defender Getty

Former Manchester United defender Paul McGrath has urged Louis van Gaal to sign Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar in January to solve the Red Devils' defensive crisis.

The Dutch international has played under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager while he was managing the Netherlands national team. The 29-year-old was an integral part of his national side's defence during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Vlaar has been attracting interest from United, while their arch rivals Arsenal are also monitoring the Villa centre-back. McGrath believes the addition of the Dutch defender to Red Devils' squad will also help in the development of young players at Old Trafford.

"They would hate me for saying it but Aston Villa have Ron Vlaar, who could help United with his experience and bring on the younger players but, at the same time, I want him to stay at Villa," McGrath told the Daily Mail.

Vlaar's contract at Villa Park runs down at the end of this season and the centre-back has not agreed to sign a new deal. Paul Lambert could let his player leave and cash in from his sale in January, rather than letting him go for nothing next summer.

United are struggling with injuries as they are still without the services of key defenders Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Luke Shaw for the upcoming clash against Hull City. Van Gaal admitted that Marcos Rojo "could be available", along with Radamel Falcao for Saturday's league match.

Van Gaal registered his first away win as United manager as his side defeated the Gunners 2-1 at the Emirates last weekend. For the clash against the north London club, the Dutch manager fielded Paddy McNair, Chris Smalling and Tyler Blackett as the three centre-backs in a three-man backline.

McGrath has heaped praise on the United centre-back for their performance against Arsenal.

"Let's be honest, they got out of jail. At times against Arsenal it was like the Keystone Cops - they were hacking it clear when they should have been brave and passed it," the former United defender said.

"'They were so nervous, but then I thought, 'You're doing the right thing, take no chances'. They sensed Arsenal had missed their opportunity."

"Young Paddy McNair relaxed and grew into the game and Chris Smalling seemed to relish the responsibility of being the senior defender. In the end, for a young defence, it should have done them a world of good," McGrath concluded.