Thomas Vermaelen has taken another step closer to Manchester United after agreeing personal terms worth £100,000-a-week, according to The Daily Express.
It is worth noting that The Daily Telegraph reported that the Arsenal captain had agreed a deal of the same value several months ago. However, Arsenal and the player himself quickly moved to deny the claims.
He told reporters in June: “I know there has been a lot of talk and a lot of rumours but the only thing I can say is that it’s not true.
“Everybody understands my situation at Arsenal and that I have one year left."
Now it appears terms have been agreed between the two parties. Vermaelen currently earns £70,000-a-week at Arsenal, meaning a move to Manchester United would earn him a substantial pay rise.
Deal agreed in principle
Now a move from Arsenal to Old Trafford is looking more and more likely, it appears that Vermaelen has agreed a six-figure sum with Louis van Gaal's side. The terms contract has only been agreed in principle and is subject to Arsenal agreeing a fee with Manchester United.
It is that last factor that could prove key in the deal. Arsene Wenger has admitted that he would prefer to see Arsenal's club captain move abroad. He also confirmed clubs from abroad are negotiating with the Gunners over Vermaelen.
He told reporters: “Ideally, yes, [we would sell him abroad]. It is an option. I don’t want to tell you how many clubs but we have offers from abroad as well.”
One of the foreign clubs believed to be in for the Belgium international is Barcelona. Widespread reports claim that a £10 million has reached north London from the Nou Camp and that officials are in London today to try and finalise a deal.
Barcelona are looking to replace Carles Puyol and do not want to keep playing Javier Mascherano as a makeshift centre-back. They are also believed to be chasing PSG starlet Marquinhos.
Preference for Old Trafford
However, Manchester United are believed to be Vermaelen preferred destination. Louis van Gaal has offered him a key role in his 3-5-2 formation and the chance to play with close friend and former teammate, Robin van Persie, is an obvious attraction.
Wenger is likely to do everything in his power to make sure Vermaelen moves abroad and will wait until all other options have failed before sanctioning a deal with their Premier League rivals. Wenger's reluctance to deal with a Premier League rival is born out of the backlash he received for selling Van Persie to the same club two summers ago.
Seeing a second Arsenal captain leave for Old Trafford in the space of two years would be a nightmare for Wenger not only for footballing reasons but for his relationship with the Emirates faithful.