Ray Parlour believes Arsenal will not stand in Thomas Vermaelen's way should he decide to sign for Manchester United.
The Gunners captain has reportedly agreed a £100,000-a-week deal to join Manchester United and is waiting for officials from Old Trafford and the Emirates Stadium to agree terms before a move can be completed.
Vermaelen would be the second Arsenal captain to make the move to their Premier League rivals in three years after Arsene Wenger agreed to sell Robin van Persie in similar circumstances. Van Persie had just one year left on his contract and had confirmed he had no intention of signing another.
Although Vermaelen has not made his intentions clear, it is believed that the Belgium international will not agree to a new contract unless he is guaranteed first team football. With Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker the firm first choice in Arsenal's defence, it looks like that time isn't coming any time soon.
And, according to club legend Ray Parlour, Arsenal are ready to let Vermaelen go to their rivals.
Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: “Thomas Vermaelen wants to play football,”
“Last year he couldn’t get in the Arsenal side because Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny were superb at the back. Kieran Gibbs has improved so much he couldn’t even play him at left-back.
“When you get to a situation where a squad member wants to move, sometimes the player has more sway than the club itself.
“If he wants to play football, and an offer comes in from a club like Manchester United, then it’s hard for the club to say, ‘no, you can’t go there, we want to sell you to a club in Italy or Spain’.
“He was doing the captain’s notes last year in the Arsenal programme but not getting in the team. I can’t see that changing anytime soon. He wants to play first team football.”
Plenty has been written about the potential transfer since the reports emerged on Monday morning but, most intriguingly, is the potential for Manchester United to swap a player of their own.
Wenger is reportedly interested in both Tom Cleverley and Nani and is considering a demand to have one of the two included in any deal. Both players have struggled to get game time since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure and, despite the fact that David Moyes has been displaced, that situation is unlikely to change.
Louis van Gaal is looking to get some big names in to boost Manchester United's chances of making the top four next season meaning Nani and Cleverley are likely to be shoved out the Old Trafford exit door.
Wenger is keen to boost options in his midfield and is ideally looking for a deep lying tough tackling midfielder, which Cleverley and Nani are very much not. In fact, if Wenger turned down the chance to sign Cesc Fabregas and then went on to sign Cleverley, the Emirates Stadium would be in uproar.
Although it looks likely that Vermaelen will make the move to Old Trafford, a potential swap deal looks very much off the cards. Manchester United could face a bill of up to £10 million for the player, meaning Arsenal would at least recoup all the money they invested in him when Vermaelen was originally signed from Ajax.
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