Thomas Vermaelen will become the second Arsenal captain in three years to move to Manchester United if Louis van Gaal agrees to pay £12 million, reports the Daily Mail.
An agreement between Arsenal and Manchester United officials is the only thing standing between Vermaelen and a move to Old Trafford after the Belgium defender agreed terms on a £100,000-a-week deal.
With just one-year left on his contract at Arsenal, Manchester United would have hoped to have sealed Vermaelen for less than his valuation, but Arsene Wenger is determined to make them pay a premium because they are selling to a direct Premier League rival.
£12 million would represent a £2 million profit on Arsenal's original outlay when they signed him from Ajax in the summer of 2009. He came to the Emirates Stadium with a big reputation and soon delivered with a string of fine performances, soon earning him the vice-captain's role and later, captain.
Most clubs in the world would have signed Vermaelen in the summer of 2012 if he had been available for £12 million, despite the fact he had missed large parts of the previous year with an achilles injury. However, after two forgettable seasons on Arsenal's bench, that price now seems an expensive risk for Van Gaal.
So is he worth it?
Vermaelen was dropped from Arsenal's squad following their 2-1 loss to Tottenham at White Hart Lane, for which the defender was arguably to blame for both of Tottenham's goals. He was replaced by Laurent Koscielny, who began developing an impressive partnership with Per Mertesacker.
That partnership stuck for the 2013/14 season and Vermaelen was reduced to League Cup appearances and injury cover. When given his chance to win his place back, he never quite looked the same.
If Vermaelen can rediscover his early form for Arsenal, £12 million will prove a snip for Manchester United, who are revealing their desperation for defensive cover by showing an interest in the 28-year-old. Simply put, Vermaelen is a big risk, not just with form but also with injury.
Vermaelen has not been short of injury problems in his career and could end up earning the big bucks while sitting in the Carrington treatment room. However, Vermaelen is more than just a quality defender, he is also a leader and could potentially be a new captain.
That doesn't change the fact that his reputation is shattered at the Emirates Stadium and he needs to move on.
Old Trafford is not the ideal destination for Arsenal fans for another captain, but a parting of ways is best for everyone. Arsenal should be happy if Manchester United are willing to risk £12 million on a player they would probably lose for nothing next summer.
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