'I can go a step higher' – Vlaar eyes Aston Villa exit

The 30-year-old centre-back, out of contract at the end of the month, wants to take a step up in his career and looks increasingly likely to reject any offer of an extension
Ron Vlaar is set to leave Aston Villa despite the offer of a new contract after admitting he can play at a higher level than the FA Cup finalists.

Villa are fast running out of time to convince the 30-year-old to stay, with the centre-back – frequently linked with a reunion with Louis van Gaal at Manchester United – out of contract on June 30.

The Villa Park outfit confirmed on Monday that Vlaar had been offered fresh terms following the club's survival, while Darren Bent was released on a free, joining Derby County permanently.

But it looks increasingly unlikely that Vlaar will remain at Villa, with the Netherlands international claiming he can take a step forward in his career and needs time to assess his options.

"I want to maximise my career and I think I can go a step higher," the Dutchman is quoted as saying in The Mirror. "I will look at it and go quietly."

Vlaar joined the club from Feyenoord in 2012 but has faced a number of injury problems, making 84 appearances in all competitions during his three years in England so far.

Villa are currently facing a degree of uncertainty, with Vlaar stalling on a new deal, Christian Benteke on many Premier League clubs' transfer wishlists and Randy Lerner rumoured to be close to selling the club.