VVV Venlo chairman Hai Berden has admitted that Maya Yoshida was on Aston Villa's radar before Ron Vlaar's move was finalised, and believes the defender is ready to join a bigger club.
Yoshida, who is currently captaining Japan's Olympic squad, has earned rave reviews for his performances in the Eredivisie over the past couple of years.
Berden says it looked like he could have been on his way to Villa when Vlaar's switch to the Midlands from Feyenoord briefly appeared to have collapsed.
The VVV official is in no doubt that Yoshida has the potential to play at the very highest level, with reports suggesting that he is a target for other clubs in England as well as Germany.
"Maya already attracted the interest of Aston Villa, but finally the transfer of Ron Vlaar went through," Berden told De Telegraaf.
"For VVV and Maya this is the perfect moment for him to make the step to a bigger club."