Manchester United want Thomas Vermaelen & Mehdi Benatia in £40m deal

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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal wants to sign both Thomas Vermaelen and Mehdi Benatia if he can this summer and neither deal is dependent on the other going through.

News of an audacious double swoop to boost United's defensive ranks was reported by the Express today, who believe Van Gaal's commitment to a 3-5-2 system means he's desperate to sign experienced centre-backs in a £40m double swoop before the transfer window slams shut.

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Defensive reinforcements a priority

Van Gaal is yet to replace either Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic, a fearsome defensive duo that both decided to call time on illustrious United careers at the end of last season.

United are still looking to fill that void despite the likes of Jonny Evans and Phil Jones impressing in pre-season, which means the Red Devils are prepared to bankroll the signing of two top central defenders, but there's a huge fight on to sign both.

Vermaelen tug of war

First of all there's the race to prise Arsenal captain Vermaelen away from the Emirates, despite the Belgian international starting just seven games for the Gunners last season.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed that he's received offers for the 28-year-old in a press conference ahead of the Community Shield earlier today, but Man United are not the only side in for a player valued at around the £10m mark.

Barcelona are also willing to take a gamble on Vermaelen in their search for a new centre-back despite a torrid recent injury record, but United are still hoping the lure of working for Van Gaal will persuade him to try and force through a move to the Theatre of Dreams.

Benatia also a top target

United are also admirers of Roma linchpin Benatia and after a magnificent breakthrough campaign that news should come as no surprise.

Benatia made a €12m move to the Stadio Olimpico look an absolute steal with a series of commanding displays in Serie A, which helped the Giallorossi keep a remarkable 20 clean sheets.

Chelsea are also very interested in taking the £30m-rated Moroccan to the Premier League, but it's definitely United who have the most pressing need for a new leader in that position and are ready to press ahead with their attempt to sign two defenders before the start of the season, despite a potential outlay of £40m.

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