Rather than spend over the odds on a central defender from a top European club, Manchester United should again set their sights on the club who generously sold them Robin van Persie in 2012.

It seems David Moyes is keen to sign another centre-back, knowing that Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are approaching the winter of their careers, but there's little point spending well over £20m on, say, Eliaquim Mangala, Mats Hummels or Ezequiel Garay when Arsenal's captain is seemingly available.

Thomas Vermaelen was once, not that long ago, rated as one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

Like all players at some stage in their careers, he suffered a dip in form last season, but the impressive performances of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny means there's no way back for the Belgium international.

As a result, the 27-year-old is also in real danger of being left out of the Belgium side - the most talented Belgium team of recent times - for next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.

Vermaelen acknowledged this possibility earlier this week and, needless to say, admitted that he will consider his options if he continues to spend time on the Gunners' bench each week.

United initially felt they had no chance of signing Van Persie, but look how wrong they proved to be on that one. It could be the same case with Vermaelen.

With Chris Smalling and Phil Jones still learning their trade - and Jonny Evans seemingly not Moyes's cup of tea - the Red Devils could do with another central defender with Premier League and Champions League experience.

The fact Vermaelen is also a natural leader makes him an even more attractive transfer target - as does the fact that he can deputise at left-back when required.

With fellow Belgians Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj already at Old Trafford - not to mention his close friend Van Persie - there's no question that Vermaelen would jump at the chance to join United.

Just as Arsenal's previous captain did.

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