Manchester United are preparing a £12million bid for Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, according to the Guardian.

The Belgian struggled for regular first team football at the Emirates last season, with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny the first choice partnership.

Arsene  Wenger has admitted the club captain could leave the club this month, which has opened the door for Manchester United, however the Gunners would prefer to sell abroad than to a domestic rival.

Barcelona have also been linked with a move, but reports suggest they will only turn to Vermaelen should their move for Liverpool defender Daniel Agger fall through.

The 28-year-old is struggling with a minor hamstring injury sustained with Belgium at the summer’s World Cup, but that has not put off Louis van Gaal from preparing a £12million offer.

Van Gaal is looking for two new centre backs following the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, and sees Vermaelen as the ideal man to play as a left centre back in a 3-5-2 formation.

“At the moment, Thomas Vermaelen is here,” Wenger said. “He is injured at the moment for a short-term injury. It [a transfer] could happen, yes. It’s a possibility that he goes. If he goes, we have to replace him because he’s an important player in our squad.”

Asked if he expected Vermaelen to depart, Wenger said: “No, I expect him to stay but he, of course, did not play enough games last year. For me he’s a very important player but I couldn’t guarantee him the games he wanted last year.”

 

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