According to reports from Sky Sports, Barca - who are under new management this season after a disappointing trophyless 2013/14 campaign saw previous boss Gerardo Martino replaced by Luis Enrique - have edged ahead of Manchester United in the battle to sign Belgian international Vermaelen by submitting a bid worth £10 million for his services.
Gunners centre-back Vermaelen's future has been subject to much speculation throughout the current transfer window so far, with the 29-year-old apparently unwilling to enter talks over a new contract at the Emirates Stadium.
With his current deal due to expire in 2015, Arsene Wenger will know that keeping hold of Vermaelen beyond this month's deadline will, in all likelihood, see him depart for free next summer all at least for a further reduced fee in January.
Barcelona's relentless pursuit of defensive reinforcements should make Enrique very popular among the club's fervent fanbase.
While Blaugrana have seen no shortage of world-class attacking players arrive at the Camp Nou over recent seasons, the defence - prior to last month's capture of Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia - has been left largely to fend for themselves with no centre-back signings since the ill-conceived purchase of Dmytro Chygrynskiy from Shakhtar Donetsk back in 2009.
Chygrynskiy - who certainly did not come cheap - proved to be a disastrous signing for Barcelona, making just a hand full of appearances during one solitary La Liga campaign.
With the experienced Carles Puyol now having retired and Javier Mascherano - who has been used as a makeshift defender by Barcelona alongside Gerard Pique - repeatedly proving his midfield prowess at the World Cup, Vermaelen would be a very capable addition to Enrique's current squad.
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It will be particularly intriguing to witness how Manchester United react to this bid. While Louis van Gaal has repeatedly stressed the importance of taking the appropriate time to successfully evaluate all members of his current squad at Old Trafford, it is blindingly obvious that the Dutchman needs to secure at least one new defender before the start of the 2014/15 Premier League season.
While it appears that Borussia Dortmund Mats Hummels - an instrumental figure in Germany's recent success in Brazil - is Van Gaal's priority target, Vermaelen's versatility and experience of the Premier League would make him a very worthy signing indeed.
With the current price being discussed for the player so low, you would not imagine that Manchester United will have too much issue with matching it.
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