Manchester United could yet get their hands on Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen this summer, as it’s transpired that he will sit down soon to have crunch talks with Arsene Wenger over his future.
According to information in the Daily Mail, the Belgian international is open to the idea of leaving the Emirates Stadium in the coming weeks despite his status as one of the Gunners’ most experienced heads, and his stance has perhaps opened the door for Louis van Gaal to swoop.
Speculation has dominated the headlines for some time now that Vermaelen will make a controversial switch to Old Trafford, having lost his spot in the heart of Arsenal’s defence to the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Numerous reports have suggested that Van Gaal - who has defensive ailments to cure following the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand - will look to make Vermaelen one of his first flagship signings, and the talk of the town is that a bid of £15million could be sufficient to enable him to do so.
In the Dutchman’s mooted 3-4-3 system, which uses two wing-backs who can double up with defensive cover to allow it to change to a 5-3-2, a centre-back of Vermaelen’s skill on the ball would appear to be a perfect fit. Combine that with the fact Van Gaal only currently has Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans to pick from, and said transfer becomes very feasible indeed.
It’s believed that Vermaelen himself didn't fly out with the rest of the Arsenal first-team for their pre-season venture in Austria, as he looks to work on his fitness in England in order to get over a knee complaint picked up during his time with the Belgian national squad at the Brazil World Cup. However the rest of the squad is set to return to London today, and it’s thought the 27-year-old will immediately set about trying to convene with Wenger to talk about his future at the club.
Sources close to the player have seemingly indicated that he isn’t going to force a move and jeopardize the healthy relationship he has with the fans, but first-team football is what he is craving following a frustrating campaign in which he was forced to act as a backup option.
As such it’s likely that a move will be pushed through, though whether it’s to United - which would duly evoke the ire of the Gunners faithful - or Barcelona - who also rank amongst his wealth of suitors - remains to be seen.