Manchester United's hopes of signing Thomas Vermaelen are dwindling after Arsenal made a player-plus-cash ultimatum to outline the only way they will sell their out of favour captain.
The Daily Telegraph reports how the North London club are not completely opposed to the idea of letting the Belgium international leave, as long as the deal is on their terms and doesn't leave them short on defensive cover.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was previously credited with an interest in Chris Smalling when the England ace left Fulham for the Red Devils in 2011.
It's not exactly clear whether Arsenal would be keen to bring the 24-year-old to the Emirates Stadium now, but given their current shortage at right-back, as well as Smalling's ability to play in central defence, he could prove to be a viable option.
Louis van Gaal is yet to officially begin work at Old Trafford and hasn't met his new group of players, but the common perception is that the Dutchman wants to work with a small 22 or 23 man squad, which could result in a fire-sale after his arrival.
Strength in numbers
And, with Rafael, Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia all capable of operating on the right side of defence, Smalling could be sacrificed if it meant Van Gaal bringing Vermaelen to Manchester United.
The Gunners skipper would act as cover for summer signing Luke Shaw on the opposite flank in light of the impending sale of veteran Patrice Evra, and would also strengthen ranks in the sought after centre-back position after the departure of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
Vermaelen is currently third choice centre-back at Arsenal behind Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, and could find more regular first-team football were he to move to Old Trafford.
Wenger is understood to value the former Ajax man - who has just 12 months remaining on his current contract - at £12 million according to the Guardian, but the money that changes hands with Manchester United would depend on what player or players were included as part of the deal.
Matthieu Debuchy is expected to be brought in from Newcastle United as Arsenal's first choice right-back this season, but with Carl Jenkinson expected to leave the club on loan the Gunners will need additional cover in that area.
A deal for Atletico Madrid youngster Javi Manquillo has also been mooted, however Diego Simeone wants to keep the Spaniard at the Vicente Calderon having already seen a number of his La Liga title winning squad depart this summer.
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