Manchester United must not cave in to Arsenal's ludicrous transfer demands regarding the prospective sale of Thomas Vermaelen this summer. The £12 million asking price that Arsene Wenger has slapped on the Belgium international's head is nowhere near the Gunners captain's true valuation.
With just one-year remaining on his contract at the Emirates Stadium the £6 million bid allegedly tabled by the Red Devils is a more than generous offer for a player that appears to have passed the peak of his powers, despite the fact he's still only 28.
VERMAELEN ON THE SLIDE
The last 18 months has seen Vermaelen restricted to a peripheral role in the Arsenal first-team, after Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker established themselves as Wenger's preferred central defensive pairing.
His poor injury record remains another genuine cause for concern, as the former Ajax man continues to struggle to recapture anything close to the kind of form that he showed during his early days in north London.
It was in 2009 that Arsenal paid £10 million to bring Vermaelen from the Amsterdam Arena to the Premier League, but despite showing early promise he now finds himself way down the pecking order when listing the most influential defenders currently playing in England.
Despite a disappointing 2013/14 campaign - where he made just 21 Arsenal appearances in all competitions - Vermaelen still made it into Marc Wilmots's 23-man Belgium squad bound for the World Cup in Brazil this summer, only for injury problems to recur prompting his early withdrawal from the Red Devils 1-0 victory over Russia at the Maracana on Sunday.
Louis van Gaal knows the Arsenal outcast from his time as Ajax's technical director, but the Holland head coach who will soon take the reins at Old Trafford would be foolish to sanction a move for Vermaelen based on that early Eredivisie promise.
Manchester United supporters could be forgiven for feeling underwhelmed by the prospect of signing one of Arsenal's back-up players, and would probably label the club's initial offer of £6 million as magnanimous.
When they hear that the Gunners want them to double their bid to £12 million, Van Gaal's acceptance would prompt justifiable anger from the Red Devils faithful. There are much better - and cheaper - options elsewhere.
Arsenal's possible reluctance to sell to Manchester United is understandable given the history of the past few years, and there is a case to be argued that Wenger is purposefully pricing Vermaelen out of a transfer to Old Trafford.
But, when you take into account the fact that the Gunners have no real need for the Belgian anymore, perhaps they'd be better to cash-in on him now at a reasonable price, or else they risk losing him for nothing when he leaves on a free transfer next summer.
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