Manchester United will need to offer Portuguese winger Nani to Arsenal in order to complete the signing of the Gunners' out-of-favour centre-back Thomas Vermaelen. The Red Devils were expected to offer around £10 million for the Belgian defender, but it's believed Arsenal are keen to strike a part-exchange deal with their Premier League rivals.
This is according to the Daily Star, who suggest Gunners' boss Arsene Wenger will use United's interest in Vermaelen as the perfect opportunity to land long-term target Nani. Although the 27-year-old only penned a new five-year deal last September, David Moyes' successor Louis van Gaal may deem the Portugal international surplus to requirements and attempt to remove him from the wage bill.
Vermaelen only has one year left on his current deal at the Emirates Stadium and will almost certainly leave the club on a free transfer next summer unless granted a move in either the current window or in January. The Belgium international has already agreed personal terms with the Red Devils - it's reported this includes a £30,000-a-week pay rise on his current deal - but a move may fail to materialise unless United agree to bow to Arsenal's demands.
Nani has endured two successive injury-hit campaigns, making a combined 22 Premier League appearances over the past two seasons, but he has showcased his immense talent with Manchester United since joining the English giants from Sporting Lisbon in 2007. The winger has scored a total of 40 goals in 227 appearances and provided assists on a regular basis.
Van Gaal traditionally likes his teams to play with width and may regard Nani as an important part of his plans for the future of Manchester United. But, on the flip side, the emergence of the hugely-exciting Adnan Januzaj may convince the Dutchman to offload a player who has long frustrated the supporters at Old Trafford.
Would Manchester United be directly strengthening a rival by selling them Nani? This is a question Van Gaal must ask himself. A fit and on-song Nani is a potential match winner - and selling him, even in exchange for the Gunners' current captain, may come back to haunt the Red Devils in the future.
But would Nani even be a first-team regular at the Emirates Stadium? Wenger already boasts several top stars who play in the same position - such as Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla - although it's believed Cazorla is keen to depart the north London outfit in order to secure a move to Atletico Madrid this summer.