According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen is ready to quit the Emirates Stadium for a move to Manchester United. The Belgium international has told close pals that he wants to complete a controversial switch to Old Trafford after the World Cup.
The fine form of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker saw the Gunners’ captain lose his starting place towards the end of the 2012/2013 season as well as the whole of the 2013/2014 season and will seek a fresh challenge after the World Cup.
Now United manager Louis van Gaal wants to sign the versatile defender this summer in a deal that could be worth in the region of £12million. With reports already suggesting that Vermaelen’s representatives have already agreed personal terms with United.
The next obstacle United must overcome now is agreeing a transfer fee with Arsenal, though Sportsmail understands the Old Trafford club will not make a formal offer for the defender until after his involvement in the World Cup is complete. Nevertheless, United will table a bid and, with Vermaelen on board, are confident of sealing his signature.
Vermaelen has a year left on his current Arsenal contract, meaning he can leave the club for nothing next summer – a scenario the Gunners are keen to avoid.
The Gunners are ready to offer Vermaelen a new contract this summer, but without the guarantee of increased first-team opportunities next season, the Belgian is likely to be reluctant to sign.
The 28-year-old is expected to be a key figure for widely fancied Belgium in the World Cup, starting alongside Vincent Kompany in the centre of defence. But this was not the case as the Gunner’s skipper was dropped in the starting line-up against Algeria in their opening match yesterday.
Manchester United and Napoli are among the clubs closely monitoring the versatile defender’s situation.