Louis van Gaal is set to be reeling, having lost out on Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona this weekend.
The Manchester United boss reportedly saw a ‘money-no-object’ enquiry snubbed by Arsene Wenger, as the Frenchman decided to sell his captain to the Nou Camp rather than entertain formal bids from Old Trafford.
And, according to Goal, citing reports in The Insider, Vermaelen’s move to Barca has reduced Van Gaal’s transfer plans to rubble, with the Dutchman clearly having been convinced that he could perform a coupe de grace and lure the Belgian to his cause. It's said that he was sure that Vermaelen's ties to England, including the fact that he has an English girlfriend, would put his club at an advantage, but it was not to be.
Alternatives on the horizon?
The report claims that the 63-year-old boss, who has promised to change United’s fortunes, had installed Vermaelen as one of his primary targets upon his arrival in Manchester, and is now being forced to go back to the drawing board.
The likes of Mats Hummels, Mehdi Benatia and Olympiacos’ Kostas Manola have all been mentioned strongly with switches to the Red Devils, though none of them offer the sort of Premier League experience that Vermaelen did. The 29-year-old was a proven leader in England’s elite division, and it’s no wonder that Van Gaal is gutted that he couldn’t add him to the fold.
The ex-Gunners captain has officially penned a five-year deal in Catalonia, and will now join the likes of Gerard Pique, Jeremy Mathieu and Marc Bartra at the heart of their defence.