Manchester United missed out on the signature of Thomas Vermaelen because of three key reasons according to reports.
Vermaelen is on the verge of signing for Barcelona after Arsenal accepted a £15 million offer for him having fallen out of favour in north London.
Manchester United had been heavily linked with the defender in recent weeks and were believed to be closing in on a deal for him. It was suggested that they were about to offer £15 million in order to beat Barcelona to the punch - however there are three key reasons as to why they failed to do just that.
Firstly, Arsenal were not keen on selling to a direct rival. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger admitted earlier this week that he would prefer to sell abroad having lost a string of key players to rivals in recent seasons.
When asked if he'd like to sell Vermaelen abroad having confirmed Manchester United's interest, he replied: "Ideally yes. It is an option. I don't want to tell you [which clubs are interested] but we have offers from abroad as well."
Another major problem with Manchester United's offer was the fact that Arsenal were keen on making it a swap deal. The Mirror say that Wenger wanted Chris Smalling in return, and that was something Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal wouldn't countenance.
Finally, Barcelona held the upper hand of their Premier League rivals by offering Vermaelen a five year deal. Manchester United were only willing to offer him a three year contract with the option to add another year according to the Telegraph, which turned him towards the Catalan club. As soon as Barcelona matched Manchester United's £15 million offer, the writing was on the wall.
Now Van Gaal will have to identify a new defensive target having lost out on Vermaelen and Mats Hummels, who was believed to be the Dutchman's primary target.
Arsenal will also be in the market for a replacement for Vermaelen, and are said to be looking at Liverpool defender Daniel Agger. Vermaelen is Barcelona's second defensive signing of the summer following the arrival of Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia.