Man Utd set to move for Arsenal captain Vermaelen

Manchester United are preparing to make an opening offer for Arsenal central defender and club captain Thomas Vermaelen, who is valued at around £12m, the Guardian has reported.

They have been linked with a move for the 28-year-old for a number of weeks, but the Red Devils have only been given the go-ahead to make an offer after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted on Friday during a press conference that Vermaelen could be leaving Arsenal in August.

The player is carrying a slight injury which he picked up while helping Belgium to the quarter-finals of the World Cup, but will not affect any potential deal. However, Man Utd face competition from Barcelona for Vermaelen, and Arsenal would prefer to sell with abroad rather than to a Premier League rival.

Vermaelen was the first player recommended by Man Utd boss Louis van Gaal as a new summer signing, as he has been left with the job of bolstering his central defence after long-serving duo Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic both left at the end of last season. As a result, Jonathan Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are the only senior centre-backs that remain.

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