Manchester United are ready to make an improved offer for Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen after their initial £6 million bid was rejected, reports Goal.
Old Trafford officials have already held talks with the Arsenal counterparts over a proposed move for the centre-back, but were told that their £6 million offer was well short of Arsene Wenger's valuation.
Vermaelen may have struggled for form and fitness for a considerable amount of time, but Wenger still rates the Belgium international highly. That is in spite of the fact that he has preferred Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker for the last 18 months.
Louis van Gaal and Co were told that they would need to double their original £6 million bid to £12 million despite the fact that Arsenal find themselves in a precarious position. Vermaelen, 28, has just one-year left on his contract and there is a genuine chance Arsenal could lose him for free next summer if they fail to agree terms with their Premier League rivals.
The problem for Arsenal is that Vermaelen himself is reportedly keen on leaving the Emirates Stadium this summer, where his stock has fallen considerably since he was given the armband in 2012. Coincidently, he replaced Robin van Persie, who infamously left to join Manchester United. Now Vermaelen is keen to join him.
If Arsenal refuse to let their captain leave then it is unlikely he will agree an extension unless his fortunes change dramatically. He could of course win his place back in the Arsenal line up. However, the partnership between Koscielny and Mertesacker has flourished. The pair have obviously grown very close over the course of their partnership and they appeared solid for the better part of last season.
Manchester United are aware of Arsenal's position, but are also in a desperate situation themselves. Having lost both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic this summer, their defensive line is looking frail to say the least. Vermaelen comes with Premier League experience and international quality. They are keen to buy and it appears Arsenal are keen to sell, so Van Gaal is hoping to meet Wenger in the middle.
Instead of caving to Arsenal's demands, Manchester United are preparing to up their offer to just under £10 million. That still comes in short of Arsenal's price tag, but is significantly improved from their opening bid.
Manchester United will tell Arsenal that they are reluctant to go any higher but are confident of agreeing a deal. If the Red Devils can agree a fee with Arsenal, Van Gaal believes personal terms with Vermaelen will be a mere formality.
In fact some reports, including The Daily Telegraph, believe that Vermaelen has already agreed a contract worth £100,000-a-week with the Old Trafford club. Vermaelen later denied such reports, but, of course, it would be in his interest to keep such matters quiet, should a deal between Arsenal and United fail to materialise.